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0000017b-f971-ddf0-a17b-fd73f3950000Election coverage from SPR and the Northwest News Network:Statewide Election: WashingtonSpokane County ElectionStatewide Election: IdahoStatewide Election: OregonU.S. House and Senate

Spokane Valley House Race Pits Two Republicans At Odds

Arritola campaign website; WA legislature website

The 4th district representative seat in Washington pits the ultra conservative incumbent Matt Shea against a fellow Republican, Josh Arritola.

Arritola was raised in Spokane, a product of a broken home, and graduated from Lewis and Clark High school, and then received a scholarship to the University of Washington. After a stint in the Air Force, Arritola, became a business consultant, and now works in that capacity for companies in the oil and gas industry.

As a business consultant, Arritola says he would like to see better business climate in the state, by changing the structure of the B-and-O tax to make it a tax on net profit instead of gross. He explains that many businesses only make a profit in the fourth quarter of the year.

Arritola: “And it would help businesses because business wouldn’t have to pull out loans for the first three quarters, and lose that interest, and harm their ability to hire in fourth quarter, if we just taxed in the fourth quarter of the net.”

Arritola says he believes education is also critically important to the state and the economy, and cites his own experience as being from a broken home, yet being able to become a good enough student that he received a scholarship to attend University of Washington. When it comes to education funding, he thinks money can be saved for education by not wasting money on “green” building construction on schools.

But Josh Arritola says his top priority is to complete the North South freeway section in Spokane, and believes doing so will help create 10 thousand sustainable jobs in the region. He is critical of incumbent Matt Shea for missing opportunities to help secure that funding.

Shea: “Everybody has got things that are important to them. And what’s important to him are Nevada, Idaho, things going on outside the district. And we need to be focused on the corridor. If we are spending all our political capital in a different state on different issues and not showing up to meetings, like he does here, he misses meetings here in Spokane.”

Specifically Arritola was referring to Matt Shea's trip to Nevada to show solidarity with rancher, Clive Bundy, in his battle with the BLM over failure to pay grazing fees.

It was a difficult task to pin the incumbent Matt Shea down on the issues. A graduate of Gonzaga law school, Shea is an Army veteran who practices law in the region. Shea was not available for an interview for this election, as he told us he was experiencing a family crises and would not be able to sit down and talk. Two years ago, we were also unable to get an interview with Shea.

We were able to access a tape of Matt Shea at a conservative “Liberty Caucus” organization meeting in North Idaho this summer.

In his address, you get a flavor of some of his political leanings. At one point, he outlined his concern with the overstepping federal government, and made reference to some in the region who had been harassed.

Shea: “We need to call what is happening out of Washington DC what it is: bureaucratic terrorism. If you want a list of stories, IRS audit of my friend Phil Hart, or the Doe harassment of the Sackett family, I call that terrorism.”

Phil Hart was an Idaho state lawmaker convicted of failing to pay his federal income tax. The Sackets are a north Idaho family who won a US Supreme Court case against the US Environmental Protection agency, after EPA said they had illegally filled protected wetlands on their property.

Shea’s concern with the federal government took him to the Bundy ranch in Nevada to show support. At the address last summer in northern Idaho, he said property owners in the Inland Northwest face similar encroachment from outsiders, like the Palouse conservation district, who had sent out a letter to 1200 area farmers.

Shea: “Let us come on to your property to inventory the original prairie, so they could close off the property. Guess what happened in Nevada? That exact same thing, 20 years ago.”

The two candidates do share similar views when it comes to opposing new taxes and denying any connection between climate change and human activities. The race for the 4th district house seat is unusual in that it pits two Republicans against each other, but it is also representative of the battle the party faces on a national level, with moderates fighting for control of the party against the ultra conservatives.

Steve was part of the Spokane Public Radio family for many years before he came on air in 1999. His wife, Laurie, produced Radio Ethiopia in the late 1980s through the '90s, and Steve used to “lurk in the shadowy world” of Weekend SPR. Steve has done various on air shifts at the station, including nearly 15 years as the local Morning Edition host. Currently, he is the voice of local weather and news during All Things Considerd, writing, editing, producing and/or delivering newscasts and features for both KPBX and KSFC. Aside from SPR, Steve ,who lives in the country, enjoys gardening, chickens, playing and listening to music, astronomy, photography, sports cars and camping.
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