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Candidates for the state legislature joined candidates for county-wide seats at an Anacortes Candidates Forum, but only one-half of the initial audience stayed long enough to hear from the legislative candidates.

The League of Women Voters candidates forum stretched to three hours Thursday night, with the candidates for the legislature not speaking until 8:30 pm. By that time, the initial audience of about 80 people had diminished to about 40 people.

Some of the issues Moderator Mark Wenzel asked about highlighted the differences among the candidates who made it past the Primary Election.

On the $15 an hour minimum wage recently approved last summer in Seattle, Incumbent State Representative Kris Lytton said, “I don’t think we should have different community with different wages.” She said that, “We don’t want pockets of rich and poor,” adding that $15 minimum wage is probably too high.

Opponent Daniel Miller from Friday Harbor agreed, saying the minimum wage should be set on a statewide basis. “It should be at least $10 an hour in the state,” he said.

Asked about Initiative 594, which would require background checks for all firearms transfers, Lytton said, while she is a strong supporter of the second amendment, she is also a supporter of 594, saying, “It’s common sense. It’s not trying to take guns away from anyone, just keep people safe.”

Miler said he is against initiative 594 because if let someone hold your handgun and then need to go to the courthouse to fill out a background check is “atrocious.”

Miller, from Friday Harbor, railed against the state ferry system’s planned reservation system set to begin in January. He said, “It’s a boondoggle” and a waste of money. He said no one in the islands supports it.

Lytton, on the other hand, called cuts to the ferry system that are made every two years is bad. She pointed to the need to keep the international run, from Anacortes to Sidney, BC. “We need to make sure the ferries are in the budget. They’re part of the marine highway.”

I have only covered the two candidates who are competing in the 40th Legislative District, position 1, which includes the city. Candidates from the 39th District, which includes eastern Skagit County as well as much of Snohomish and King counties. And, candidates for District 10, position 2 included incumbent Dave Hayes and challenger Nick Petrish.

The League’s candidates forum covered lesser positions earlier in the session, including County Assessor, Auditor, Treasurer, Public Utilities Commissioner and County Commissioner.

The General Election is November 4. The online Voters Guide is here.

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