"Independent." "Bipartisan." "Listens to you."
These are just a few of the buzzwords you're sure to see splashed across political ads this fall. Republican candidates here in Washington from U.S. House down to local offices are desperate to proclaim independence from their party. Especially as Republicans in swing districts have realized that the "Trump Effect" may act more like kryptonite for their campaign.
This is especially true when it comes to Republican Lynda Wilson of the 17th Legislative District. Wilson represents the areas East and North of Vancouver, Washington. This is a blue collar swing district that elects both Democrats and Republicans.
Here's what Wilson doesn't want her constituents to know: in 2016 she voted with the Republican Party leadership in Olympia 95 percent of the time.
Fuse analyzed all 429 final votes taken on bills in the state House this year. This is a tradition in Olympia for legislatures to vote with their party on procedural motions and then vote their conscience on final passage, so we thought that using final votes would be the most fair standard. For the small number of bills where legislators overruled Governor Inslee's veto, we used the original roll call vote. We then compared the voting record of Representative Wilson to the Republican Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen. These votes came on both small, uncontroversial bills and major pieces of legislation that will impact working families in our state for years.
Who is in Charge? Since Wilson is voting with the Republican leadership nearly every time, who is she taking her cues from?
The real decision maker is a very conservative legislator who is unknown in most of Washington. Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen represents the 39th district, another large district covering the rural east side of Snohomish and Skagit counties. Kristiansen holds many extremely conservative views, including opposing abortion, opposing universal background checks for gun purchases, blocking action to fight global warming, supporting Tim Eyman's self-serving initiatives, opposing transit funding, and refusing to close tax loopholes to fund education. A candidate holding Schoesler's extreme views would have almost no chance of being elected in the independent 17th District. Not surprisingly, Wilson doesn't want you to know that she follows the lead of her very conservative Republican leadership 95 percent of the time.
The Votes So what was Wilson actually voting on? Here are few examples of bills she followed her party leadership on.
- Wilson voted with Republican leadership against a plan to close the opportunity gap for students of color.
- Wilson voted with Republican leadership against a plan to fully fund K-12 education over the next four years.
- Voted with Republican leadership against "Breakfast after the bell" legislation that extended the hours for free and low-cost breakfast for low-income students.
- Instead of funding education, Wilson voted with Republican leadership to create a new tax break for construction of aircraft maintenance facilities.
- Voted with Republican leadership against a bill to ensure women receive equal pay for equal work.
- Voted with Republican leadership against providing reasonable accommodations in the workplace for pregnant women.
No candidate authorized the ads promoting this post. Paid for by Fuse Votes, 1402 3rd ave #406, Seattle, WA 98101. Top 5 contributors: Fuse WA, Fast PAC, SEIU 925, New Direction PAC, Our Votes Count.