4th District Fraught, the Saga of Biviano and Shea
This story was updated at 1:15 P.M. on November 5th, 2012Spokane Valley has the blessing of one really exciting and sometimes hilarious 4th Legislative District State Representative race. The 4th District represents an area stretching from the Spokane Valley to the Northeast Edge of Spokane County, including Liberty Lake, Millwood, Peone Prairie, Mead, Colbert, Chattaroy, and Elk. The race’s incumbent, Matt Shea (R), has had a few brushes with the law, is running on a platform of small government and the demise of FEMA (Which is not actually a state agency). His opponent, Amy Biviano (D), Playboy model/ badass believes in a more efficient, bi-partisan approach to government. Both candidates claim to be pro-family and pro-business but have drastically different approaches.
The Spovangelist had the great pleasure of sitting down with both Biviano and Shea to discuss their approaches to governing and other fun things:
1. Initiative 502 (Marijuana Legalization)
Neither candidate is much of a fan of Initiative 502, although their reasons for opposition differ. Biviano, a mother, supports decriminalization of marijuana. But, she adds, ”I don’t think we really want to encourage that [smoking marijuana recreationally].”
Her opponent, while sharing the disapproval for recreational use, says that Initiative 502 is inherently flawed.
“It expands government,” Shea said. “And that’s the last thing we need right now.” The Republican incumbent does, however, see a need for less regulation of cannabis and hemp.
“If we legalize non-THC commercial hemp, that’s a whole new industry right there. That’s jobs for people in Washington and the 4th district.”
Both candidates support the rights of medical marijuana patients to obtain their medicine as prescribed by a physician.
2. Referendum 74 (Same-Sex Marriage)
Once again, both candidates can agree on at least one thing (bi-partisanship, ftw!) – that gay marriage, in their opinion, is a first amendment issue.
Shea, an adamant opponent of Referendum 74, views s potentially damaging to the state’s economy. “If a wedding photographer refused to take pictures for a gay wedding because they acted on their conscience, they could be sued. That’s bad for small business, that’s not right,” the incumbent said. When asked what made potential discrimination of gay marriages any different from that of interracial marriages in the mid-20th century, he responded that he believes marriage itself is a religious ceremony, and not something the state should be involved in.
His opponent is, not surprisingly, on the other side of the fence.
“It’s a matter of religious liberty,” Biviano said. “My husband and I wouldn’t love eachother any less if the guys down the street got married.”
3. Charter Schools
While both candidates claim to be fans of the idea of charter schools (Shea believes all public schools should become charter schools) and both oppose Initative 1240, their reasons for doing so are markedly different.
“It’s a great program, and it doesn’t cost a dime of taxpayer money,” Biviano said of the Riverpoint Program, STEM program with focus on science and technologies (AKA not actually a charter school). ”But we don’t need to be taking money out of public education to support charter schools. Riverpoint is an example of the innovation that is possible with public education.”
Shea, on the other hand, opposes the current initiative, claiming that the legislation would form an unaccountable, non-elected council – more government involvement.
4. Stimulating the local economy
Biviano, an accountant, says she wants to help local businesses by ensuring ‘reasonable regulation’ and tax reform – namely, taxing businesses on a gross margin basis. In English, that means taxing sales after the business costs were first deducted. When asked which regulations she would like to change, Biviano had no specific answers beyond relaxing environmental regulations.
Shea said that he would seek to decrease regulation from the Department of Labor and Industries. By decreasing the power of regulatory bodies at the state level, Shea believes local businesses will be more able to create jobs in his district.
5. FEMA Camps, and the Alex Jones show
When asked about allegations that Shea sees FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) camps as prisons for Obama’s political enemies, the GOP candidate was clear in his message.
“I don’t think we’re rounding people up and throwing them in these camps,” Shea said. “No one I know thinks that.”
Conversely, at 3:08 in this interview with conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Shea states that “a ton of people have expressed their concerns that what they’re building are prison camps.”
We didn’t bother to ask Biviano about FEMA because it’s not a goddamn state agency and the State House of Representatives has absolutely no jurisdiction over federal agencies.
This Spokane Valley, or Spokane’s Shelbyville, is a consistently Republican district that lends itself to contentious, hard-fought races– this is no exception. Pay close attention, make sure you vote… wisely. Ballots are due Tuesday, November 6th by 8PM.