Kaj Selmann (D) - Candidate for WA State House - Dist. 13, Pos. 2
Kaj Selman is running for WA State House of Representatives, Dist. 13, Pos. 2
Political Party: Democrat
Education: Attended Central Washington University
Spouse: Jo Anne Selmann, three children
Date of Birth: 1974
As a resident of our district for 18 years, I attended CWU from 1992-1997, worked my way through college employed by local hay operations, then, after a year as a music and youth minister, started a family business, and continued as a successful small business owner ever since. I've run an office supply company, a printing company, and am now a general contractor. Current building projects include a house in Warden, with plans for several more, and several property management related renovations. My wife, Jo Anne and I married nearly fifteen years ago and have three children.
Please describe your top 5 priorities if elected to serve as the State Representative, Position Two, for District Thirteen:
Hello, KHQ viewers. My name is Kaj (rhymes with sky) Selmann and I seek your consideration and vote for Washington State Representative, Position Two, District Thirteen.
My top five priorities: Jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs and jobs!
In order to retain the agricultural and industrial jobs we have and create the economic climate for more, our District requires investment in water, rail, roads, education, and energy.
Our District and State require a comprehensive strategy for water use in Eastern Washington. Before our aquifers dry up, before others lay claim to our Washington State water rights, we need our own plan! By standing on the shoulders of the visionaries who gave us the Columbia Basin Irrigation District, we can develop the infrastructure necessary to replenish our Grant and Lincoln County aquifers and better utilize our share of the Columbia River system. The Integrated Plan in Kittitas County to increase reservoir capacity should be implemented, with some relaxation of the domestic use rules. Domestic use accounts for the smallest amount of water usage, and 98% returns to the river system. That should be reflected in the pricing and availability of domestic water. We need to repair relations with the Department of Ecology (the lead agency for the Integrated Plan) in order to make such common sense changes happen. These projects will translate into short term jobs as well as retaining and expanding current agricultural and industrial opportunities.
A smart transportation plan for Central Washington will make us much more attractive to large employers like Boeing. For example, a Moses Lake Port to Ephrata rail spur, laid while the land remains undeveloped, affords a straight shot west or east for new (and old) industries in the Moses Lake to Othello corridor. New industry will take advantage of the low transportation cost.
We require a strategy and plans to revitalize our small towns so they will contribute to the regional economy while retaining their unique character. Most of these farm towns sit on rail lines with a reasonably good transportation infrastructure. What they don't have, are jobs. I would like to see us incentivize, through a B&O tax break, small and medium manufacturers to take advantage of low infrastructure and property costs, then, locate in small towns like Creston, Davenport, Sprague.
Despite the dominance of fossil fuels in our national debates, renewable energy sources represent real jobs in our part of Washington State. Companies like REC Silicon, Katana, Puget Sound Energy, and others offer the tools and infrastructure for alternative energy sources. We should add bio-energy to this list to create even more jobs within the Thirteenth District
Employers like those mentioned require an educated workforce with more than just a high school diploma. Our competitive markets demand we expand the "basic" part of basic education, whether it extends to trade school, apprenticeship, community college or a four-year institution. The more educated our workforce, the more productive we can be, and employers are looking for these skills right now.
Finally, significant projects like those mentioned above require investment capital. There are elegant solutions that can solve may problems with one stroke. We need to open up and clean up our public forests. Ridge after ridge of Beetle-kill trees are doing little, other than providing fuel for forest fires. Opening public lands to harvest the Beetle-kill, and replant with resistant stock will create jobs, add funds to our educational system, and restore our forest.
We should also look to other states for successful examples for additional revenue. One exists today in North Dakota in the form of a State Infrastructure Bank. Washington State should learn from this example, capitalize (perhaps through bond issuance) an infrastructure bank, and drive local investments through local banks that create jobs for our own District.