State Representative LD 31, Pos. 2 – Brian L. Gunn

Legislative Questionnaire

Candidate Info

Candidate Name:   Brian L. Gunn
Position Sought:    State Representative LD 31, Pos. 2
Are you an incumbent for this position?    Non-incumbent
Home Legislative District:    31
Are you a Democrat?    Yes

Campaign Info

Campaign Manager or Point of Contact:    Brian Gunn

Part I – Candidate Background

1. Please briefly describe your qualifications, education, employment, community and civic activity, union affiliation, prior political activity, and other relevant experience. Beyond your qualifications, what makes you the best candidate for this position or office? Please describe any specific background or unique perspective you offer and how those will help you accomplish your goals for the position sought. If possible, give practical examples.


I received my BA in English from the University of San Francisco in 1984. My career in Software Quality Assurance began shortly after entering the workforce. I have worked for PEMCO, Seattle Children's Hospital and Boeing, among others. My ability to teach, encourage and motivate others makes me a respected leader in the business world, and that will also help me become an effective Representative in the Washington State Legislature.

I have extensive experience in local politics, as a volunteer doorbelling for candidates, as a steering committee member for a state senate campaign, and a candidate myself in 2012. I have spent time talking to voters of all stripes in our district, and that gives me a clear understanding of what folks need and want from their elected officials.

My community service began collecting cans with my brother to recycle. I was raised to believe that we all do better when we all do better, which is why I have volunteered for math and science programs in our local schools, planting trees in our public areas, and repairing houses for folks needing help. Nearly 20 years ago, I realized how much local policy decisions affect our lives and became an active citizen voice to our elected officials lobbying for environmental protection and universal health care. Now I would like to take that commitment to public service and enthusiasm for good public policy to Olympia as your Representative.

2. What prompted you to run for this office?

Reading the legislative reports from the folks currently representing the 31st LD galvanized me to run this year. From what they wrote, you would think that the State of Washington is not a safe place to live, and all our public services are misguided in their mission as well as poorly run. They will tell you that the folks on the other side of the aisle are making things worse while painting a rosy picture of the state of our State. That is typical political posturing in our day and age. The party in the minority says everything is bad, and the majority insists that all is well. I'd like to suggest that the truth is somewhere in between these two extremes. My opponent won't tell you this, but violent crime is down across the board over the past 20 years, and that means everyone is safer. Nevertheless, the pandemic left lots of folks on or over the economic edge, and that means that some property crimes are trending up in the short term. We need to look at the underlying causes of crime if we want to have a chance of keeping it in check. Wealth and income inequality are at the root of the divide in this county and in our state between those who don't have enough to feed their kids or even to put a roof over their heads versus those who have way more than enough.

3. What are your campaign’s most important themes, issues, or priorities (three to five)? Share issues or priorities specific to the office that you’re running for.

I would support changes to our tax code to shift the burden off the backs of working people and small businesses and make sure the wealthiest people and biggest corporations pay their fair share of taxes to support, extend and maintain the infrastructure that makes them rich and their businesses profitable. I'll champion projects to finally bring the improvements we need to Highways 164 and 410 to solve congestion issues folks in our district deal with almost every day. I'll work to secure funding for improvements to our local public schools and community centers to improve our quality of life here in the 31st. And I'll fight to make sure we invest in water quality projects to benefit our small local farms while bringing salmon runs back to the Green, White and Carbon rivers.

4. What steps are you taking to run a successful campaign?

I will focus on messaging that will appeal to a majority of voters in our district. I will not accept corporate contributions to my campaign so that voters will know that if they elect me, I will represent people, not big money interests.

Part II –  Yes or No Questions, please qualify your response if necessary

1. Do you support steps to build a fairer economy through tax reform, including a wealth tax?    Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #1    
2. Do you support the right of public workers, excluding military, to bargain and strike?    Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #2    
3. Do you support legalizing multi-unit homes statewide, as proposed in the #Homes4WA bill, to help alleviate the affordable housing crisis?     Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #3    
4. Do you support legislation to address climate change and protect our environment, including the Keep Washington Evergreen Act?    Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #4    
5. Do you support women’s unrestricted access to reproductive healthcare?     Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #5    
6. Do you support achieving a universal, affordable, quality single payer healthcare program?     Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #6    
7. Do you support laws regulating the purchase, ownership, and carrying of firearms?     Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #7    

Part III – Free Response (Please answer at least four questions fully, consider the remaining three optional)

1. Why are you running as a Democrat? What aspects of the Democratic platform most resonate with you?

FDR's Second Bill of Rights is a concise expression of some of the core values of the Democratic Party that appeal most to me. Income and wealth inequality are corrosive to society, and we can only be truly secure when the basic needs of all our citizens are met.

2. What important state and local issues have you worked on (or taken an interest in) that you feel aren’t getting enough attention from elected leaders and the media?

3. What legislative reforms do you support to achieve greater equity and inclusion for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ individuals in our communities?

4. What are some obstacles inherent in proposed legislative solutions to climate change? How would you approach those obstacles in order to best overcome or minimize any negative effects?

The greatest threat to the current Washington State legislative solution to climate change (the Climate Commitment Act) is misinformation being spread by right-wing multi-millionaires that the CCA is a "hidden gas tax". Actually, the approach taken by opponents to dismantle the CCA highlights a problem inherent in capitalism itself which is that any increase in costs for producers tends to get passed along to consumers. Because of worries over inflation, anything that threatens to increase costs resonates with families. The burden is then on the State and the Dept of Ecology to convince consumers (voters) that the benefits of the program outweigh the downsides. The CCA is designed to do just that, but the results will not be visible right away. The benefits will be substantial: cleaner air improves health and reduces medical costs, more efficient heating methods underwritten by the act will reduce utility bills, electric vehicle charging stations will make EVs more practical and reduce gasoline bills. I'll commit to helping get the word out to voters as part of my campaign because I'm sure this will come up at the doors.

5. What safety, law, or justice reforms are you currently in favor of, and how will you work to implement them?

6. What steps do you think need to be taken to improve voter turnout and increase voter trust in our election process?

I am a strong believer in Ranked Choice Voting. RCV has been shown to increase voter turnout because it means that voters won't have to vote for the "lesser evil" but instead can vote their conscience while ensuring their vote does not benefit another candidate who does not share their values. Proportional RCV for races with more than one seat available can also help reduce negative campaigning since candidates have a good reason to form alliances instead of tearing each other down. The added benefit of Proportional RCV is that underrepresented communities are more likely to win seats.

7. Do you think public schools are adequately funded? If not, what minimum requirements should be met in an adequately funded public school system? What specific forms of taxation would you support to attain that funding?

We are not meeting the mandate of the Constitution and the McCleary decision with regard to adequate school funding. I support the capital gains tax on stock market profits over $250k. This is precisely the kind of legislation that we should support since the majority of the funds come from the uber wealthy who cannot possibly spend all the money they have. We can and should also consider a wealth tax on folks with a net worth of $50M or more and use the money to ensure that all our school districts are equitably funded and able to provide our students with a world-class education.

Printed Name    Brian L. Gunn
Date (mm/dd/yy)    05/19/2024

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