THERE IS ONE WAY to make sure firefighters and teachers know they are valued: maintain their healthcare benefits and pensions. But Joel Hussey, the Republican candidate for the 45th Legislative District’s House of Representatives Position 1, would have none of that if elected. These necessities – health benefits and pensions – are luxury items, according to Hussey, that must go.
Hussey spoke during a recent neighborhood meeting about how public sector employees are merely a drain on Washington State’s budget. During the gathering (which was recorded and posted to YouTube), Hussey proclaimed that, if elected, he would slash firefighters’ and teachers’ pensions and health benefits. These public employees, according to Hussey, have had it too good for too long.
These public sector employees are simply, in Hussey’s words, enjoying undeserved “gold-plated pensions” and “gold-plated healthcare plans.” According to Hussey, firefighters and teachers “have a lot to lose” if he wins the election and if the Democrats lose.
While speaking with his supporters, Hussey didn’t show any empathy for the fact that teachers and firefighters depend on their pensions for retirement and depend on their healthcare plans. To Hussey, it just doesn’t matter if those public sector employees suffer under his policies because, in his own words, he doesn’t need to buy into a pension plan because “I have a 401K.” (Don’t worry public sector employees, if elected, Joel Hussey is going to be just fine.)
It's utterly confounding that Hussey does not give teachers and firefighters the support they deserve. Then again, Hussey’s failure to support our public sector employees is not surprising given his background. Hussey claims an educational prowess citing his experience serving on the Bellevue Christian School board. But Hussey strategically omits the needed asterisk to that statement, which is that Bellevue Christian School is a private institution that is not part of Washington’s public education system.
And what’s more disturbing is that Hussey treats public sector jobs as though they are not real jobs. Firefighters, teachers, police officers – these are essential service positions that sustain to our community. But Hussey ignores the fact that our unemployment rate will rise if public sector employees’ jobs are cut in the same way as if private sector employees’ jobs are cut and instead Hussey wants to demote these positions to expendable dime-a-dozen resources.
Joel Hussey’s lack of respect for Washington’s firefighters and teachers is yet another reason that Roger Goodman deserves our vote this November. If you are a teacher or a firefighter, or if you know a teacher or a firefighter, then say NO! to Joel Hussey and say YES! to a better quality of life for our public sector employees.
Trent Latta is an attorney and Kirkland resident. He can be contacted at TrentLatta@gmail.com