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Q&A: Get to Know the Candidates For Legislative District 2, Position No. 2 | News

Gun News


Editor’s note: All answers were written by the candidates and have been lightly edited for format. 

Name: JT Wilcox

Age: 57

Occupation: Farmer/Legislator



Wilcox_Mug_Election2020

J.T. Wilcox


Current Residency: Pierce County

Party Affiliation: Republican

Elected Offices Held and Dates: State Representative 2011-present

Educational History: BA History WSU

Professional History: Wilcox Farms, Washington State

Why do you want to represent the people of the 2nd Legislative District in the state Legislature? I have always been motivated to be a powerful voice for common sense budgeting and rebuilding the rural economy. Recent events prove that all electeds also need to stand up for the basic institutional building blocks of our society which are families, strong, functional communities and free expression and membership in a faith for those who choose faith. Our constitution has made us the most successful country in the world for over 200 years and it now requires us to defend it and show that it is the most effective guide for the next 200 years.

Why should voters choose you for this seat? I’ve been recognized by nearly all organizations connected to the economy, and especially the rural economy as one of the most effective voices in Olympia. My values reflect the values of most of the voters in the 2nd LD. Sustainable budgets, no additional taxes on everyday taxpayers and recognition that constitutional rights belong to all of us, but must be defended. I’ve been recognized and endorsed by organizations such as the Farm Bureau, Hunter’s Heritage Council, Human Life WA and the NRA many times.

What do you believe to be the highest priorities for the House this next session? There is no higher priority than restoring the normal function of government with all three branches performing their proper roles. The priorities of me and my caucus will be to do this and to stand, as always, for a sustainable budget that doesn’t add new burdens and making sure that economic recovery happens for the small towns and rural areas of non-urban Washington. Public health is critical and so is the understanding that the approach to it has to be customized to the area and that what protects Seattle may not protect Yelm. We will also stand for the constitution whenever it is challenged and recognized that free people will respond to a health challenge when asked and respected.

If elected, what experience will you bring to the House of Representatives? What committees do you think you could do effective work in? As House Republican Leader, I don’t serve on committees, but meet with all committee Ranking Members frequently. The most critical committees for the 2nd LD are Appropriations, Environment, Business and Commerce and State Government. My experience from a lifetime of business, farming and living alongside families in the heart of the 2nd District is always my guide.

If elected, how do you plan to work with legislators across the aisle to help not only the people of the 2nd Legislative District, but also the people and small businesses of Washington state in the months and years following the coronavirus recession? In 10 years I’ve proven that my open approach allows me to fight back hard when harmful legislation is proposed and work collaboratively when improvements are possible. Important negotiations happen in my office and in the Speaker’s office and an honest relationship that is not poisoned by constant rancor is the only way to be successful for the people of our district.

How would you like to see the state and Legislature work to relieve its projected 3-year, $8.8 billion budget shortfall this next legislative session? All new spending should be suspended and we should implement spending levels for Agencies similar to three years ago when we had a similar amount of tax revenue available. It is OK to spend down the rainy day fund to make this transition. That’s what it is for and it currently amounts to around $3B. Residents in the 2nd Legislative District experience a number issues with transportation and a lack of housing diversity, just to name a couple.

Are there any proposals you have or any existing piece of legislature/law you’d like to build off of to solve these problems? I have supported and sponsored more flexible land use regulation so that our available home building capacity can be utilized rather than restricted as it is now. The same thing is true of building sites for business.

One of the most important issues for the Yelm and Thurston County area is water availability and I’ve been deeply involved in that issue over the last 4 years, and was instrumental in ensuring that Yelm was included as the first pilot program in the state to release water availability for new construction related to the Foster lawsuit. Decades of business development around the state make me a believer that waste handling capacity also limits the economy in small towns and I have consistently supported capital projects to add that capacity.

What state issues do you feel don’t get enough attention from either the media or Legislation? The rural economy never gets as much attention as is needed, which is why I also work nearly full time on election efforts for people who are more committed to the economy outside of Seattle.

Finding an answer to solving the state’s homelessness crisis could quite possibly be the issue of the century. What steps do you believe need to be taken to addressing this issue? Improving housing availability and affordability comes from supporting efforts to allow more building of all kinds. It involves rolling back regulation that makes homes more expensive and slower to build. It also involves less restrictive zoning and rational allowances for rural construction rather than broad prohibitions. We need to support those willing to provide multi-family housing rather than demonizing them. Rep. Andrew Barkis, my seat-mate has been the leader in affordable housing efforts and as Caucus Leader I’ve supported and promoted him every step of the way.

Where do you stand on the 2nd Amendment and recent gun control legislation (Ie, the passage of I-1639)? I’m a staunch supporter and practitioner of the 2nd Amendment and opposed restrictions of all kinds. I’ve repeatedly defended 2A in Seattle in large forums and explained why rural and small town people would feel differently than urban people. Police reform has been a spotlight topic of debate in recent weeks. It’s possible such legislation could come forward to the House or Senate this January to limit the physical power police departments can use against their constituents.

Where do you stand on police reform, and more specifically the use of teargas and chokeholds? It’s critical that police can use non-lethal methods when their lives are in danger or others lives and property are at risk. I support the vast majority of police who often protect the very same communities where they live. I also support efforts for further training in de-escalation and empowering police departments state-wide to most effectively remove people from the police force who are not suited for that authority. I and my caucus were very productive negotiators last year when the modified I-940 bull was passed that made Washington a leader in improved accountability for police forces.

What motivates you to get out of bed every morning? I’ve worked hard all my life and have never had a job I didn’t like. I’m motivated to get up and do the best that I can for every job and task every day.

Where can voters learn more about you? First, ask your neighbors. After 110 years of Wilcox’s living along the Nisqually most families around here have had contact with me or my family. My campaign website is www.jtwilcox.org

—   —   —

Name: Matt Marshall

Age: 36

Occupation: Physician Assistant and Adjunct Professor



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Matt Marshall


Current Residency: Unincorporated Pierce County

Party Affiliation: Republican

Elected Offices Held and Dates: Eatonville School Director, Position #3 (December 2019 to present)

Educational History: Master of Physician Assistant Studies from University of Nebraska Medical Center

Bachelor of Science from University of Nebraska Medical Center

Associate of Lab Science from George Washington University

Professional History: Resident EMT/Firefighter in Rural Oregon

12 yeas active duty Army (entered as PFC, honorably discharged as Captain)

8 years practice as physician assistant

6 Adjunct Professor for Department of Natural Sciences, University of Maryland Global campus

Why do you want to represent the people of the 2nd Legislative District in the state Legislature? I chose to run for Washington State Legislature because our current representative no longer adequately represents this district or shares our values. I have served my community and country my entire adult life and want to be your voice in Olympia as we face unprecedented circumstances due to COVID-19.

Why should voters choose you for this seat? I am dedicated, principled and have a proven history of successful leadership. I will not lose sight of our district. I will protect the voice of the voters, never selling out to special interest stakeholders. The 2nd district has many military families, as a veteran I understand the unique struggles and will be a strong voice for our men and women in uniform. As your next representative, I will work to protect the rights of individual citizens, support a low tax while decreasing regulations so that families and businesses can thrive.

What do you believe to be the highest priorities for the House this next session? With the shutdown we have lost a projected $9 billion in state revenue. We have a multitude of issues that we must address, but we must get our economy back on track by reopening the state followed by balancing the state budget. We must provide tax relief to small business owners immediately or we will see even more businesses permanently close their doors.

If elected, what experience will you bring to the House of Representatives? What committees do you think you could do effective work in? I have worked in medicine and education. I currently sit on Eatonville School board of directors. I have seen the issues we face with loss of parental rights regarding schools and school choice. I would be honored to serve on the education committee. I also would love to be part of Health Care & Wellness committee as a licensed practitioner. As a veteran I will bring a strong voice to the Housing, Community Development and Veterans committee.

If elected, how do you plan to work with legislators across the aisle to help not only the people of the 2nd Legislative District, but also the people and small businesses of Washington state in the months and years following the coronavirus recession? There are ways to come to agreements with opposing political ideologies. It begins with dialogue and open, honest communication. Until we can agree on cuts and how to balance the budget, our district and the entire state will suffer. I plan to propose legislation to stop the pay of all legislators until a balanced budget is approved with over a 60% majority. Our legislators should not be collecting a paycheck while the people of Washington are suffering.

How would you like to see the state and Legislature work to relieve its projected 3-year, $8.8 billion budget shortfall this next legislative session? I will propose that every department in the state cuts 15% of their budget. Let the heads of each department determine where the cuts can be made with minimal impact to the state. I will also propose tax cuts for businesses. We must create a business friendly environment in order to increase revenue that has been lost.

Residents in the 2nd Legislative District experience a number issues with transportation and a lack of housing diversity, just to name a couple. Are there any proposals you have or any existing piece of legislature/law you’d like to build off of to solve these problems?Deregulation. Right now it takes over a year to obtain a building permit. Permitting costs are rising and ridiculous. If we speed up the permitting process, decrease arbitrary regulations and allow people to use their own property, we will see an increase in housing diversity and availability.

What state issues do you feel don’t get enough attention from either the media or Legislation? Land rights. The creeping of government regulations has made it nearly impossible to use land as desired. Another issue that gets nearly no attention is civil asset forfeiture. No one should be deprived of property without due process.

Finding an answer to solving the state’s homelessness crisis could quite possibly be the issue of the century. What steps do you believe need to be taken to addressing this issue? 1. Enforce the rule of law. 2. Stop enabling via safe injection sites etc. 3. Provide mental health care and drug rehabilitation. 4. Increase all housing.

Where do you stand on the 2nd Amendment and recent gun control legislation (Ie, the passage of I-1639)? The 2nd Amendment protects our Republic and all other rights. I have opposed and actually fought against 1639. I toured the state speaking at county commissions proposing 2nd amendment sanctuary ordinances. I supported Initiative 1094 to repeal 1639. I have hosted many pro 2A events and will never compromise on your 2A. I own a variety of firearms and know that the 2nd amendment is NOT just for hunting.

Police reform has been a spotlight topic of debate in recent weeks. It’s possible such legislation could come forward to the House or Senate this January to limit the physical power police departments can use against their constituents. Where do you stand on police reform, and more specifically the use of teargas and chokeholds? Police reform is needed. We have issues, but they are more complex than limiting certain moves or tools. As we have seen, once non lethal options are restricted, cities are destroyed. I support changes in police training. Recent events have shown us that our current system is broken. Restricting tools is not the answer. Improved training and more importantly improved accountability. I support an end to qualified immunity. Rather than allow officers to act without concern for civil suits, make them carry a form of malpractice insurance just like the medical field.

What motivates you to get out of bed every morning? I am a servant. Many people depend on me. I am determined to make positive changes in order to leave a better country for my children. Also, I have to go to work to pay the bills… and my farm animals want me to feed them.

Where can voters learn more about you? My website is marshll4wa.com . You can email me at matt#@marshall4wa.com or call me at 931-241-2320. I ask that any of you who have hesitations about voting for me to please reach out. I would love to discuss. No questions are off limits.

—  —  —

Name: Veronica Whitcher Rockett

Age: 37

Occupation: Homemaker

Current Residency: Unincorporated Thurston County, Legislative District 2

Party Affiliation: Democratic Party



Rockett_Mug_Election2020

Veronica Whitcher Rockett


Elected Offices Held and Dates:

2017-2020 Democratic Precinct Committee Officer 

Thompson 162

2017-2018 Vice-Chair

Thurston County Young Democrats

2018-2019 Policy Director

Young Democrats of Washington

2018-2019 Chair

Thurston County Young Democrats

2018-2020 Vice-Chair

Thurston County Democratic Women

Educational History: I attended North Thurston Public Schools K-12, then went on to South Puget Sound Community College. I also attended Cornish College of the Arts.

Professional History: I’ve been a full-time caregiver for the last ten years for my children and my mother until she passed three years ago. I have spent countless hours in the last three years volunteering for local Democrats at their Burger Booth as a manager, and in their campaigns.

Why do you want to represent the people of the 2nd Legislative District in the state Legislature? The reason I am running is because I believe there’s so much government could be doing for people, but it takes dedicated public servants who are actually working for their constituents. I’m tired of living in a world that’s so skewed to the top, leaving most people struggling to get by. I want to provide a voice for those in our community who see that we can come together and build a better future for our children.

Why should voters choose you for this seat? With the coming budget problems, I think it is particularly important to have as many Democrats in the State House of Representatives as possible. I want to help make sure important programs for the residents of our state do not get decimated. I am the candidate in this race who will always put the people of LD2 first. I will fight to protect our schools, improve rural broadband access, and make sure our most vulnerable neighbors are protected. 

What do you believe to be the highest priorities for the House this next session? In the next session, the House will have to deal with the long-term fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. The problems our state has faced with homelessness, healthcare, and infrastructure will not just go away because we have lost our sales tax revenue. We will have to find new ways to fund our state, and that will be my priority. 

If elected, what experience will you bring to the House of Representatives? What committees do you think you could do effective work in? Ten years ago, I had to make the tough choice to quit working to take care of my mother who had early onset Alzheimer’s. As a low-income mother of special needs children, I believe I have a frame of reference that is sorely needed at all levels of government. I understand what it is like to not be able to afford needed medications and see my family suffer from the lack of them. I know what it’s like to have to pick and choose which bill to pay every month. This kind of experience will inform my decision making every day that I am in the legislature.

The committees which I believe I could do the best work in are Early Learning & k-12 Education and Health & Long-Term Care.

If elected, how do you plan to work with legislators across the aisle to help not only the people of the 2nd Legislative District, but also the people and small businesses of Washington state in the months and years following the coronavirus recession? I will never let party politics get in the way of helping Washingtonians. I think something we can all agree on and work towards a solution to is the high cost of property taxes. Senior citizens and families on fixed incomes struggle to make these payments every year, we must find a way to lower this burden.

How would you like to see the state and Legislature work to relieve its projected 3-year, $8.8 billion budget shortfall this next legislative session? The upcoming budget shortfall shows us that our tax structure is not working. Economic downturns plummet the state’s revenue just when the people need the social safety net the most. We should be looking at a capital gains tax and ending loopholes for large profitable corporations. Everyone should be paying their fair share, and not expecting low income households to bear the burden of the economic downturn.

Residents in the 2nd Legislative District experience a number issues with transportation and a lack of housing diversity, just to name a couple. Are there any proposals you have or any existing piece of legislature/law you’d like to build off of to solve these problems? I’m very encouraged by the steps taken by the legislature last session. Increasing the budgets for the rental assistance program for disabled adults and the Housing Trust Fund to build affordable homes are great steps to making sure everyone has a place to call home. To build on this, I believe we should do what the House didn’t manage to last year and provide funding for permanent supportive housing.

The bottom line for transportation in our state is that our public infrastructure is aging. We must put attention into fixing our roads, bridges, and highways. Public transit should be seen as infrastructure in this regard. Many communities are underserved and leave people without a way to function without a car. We must expand bus service where it makes sense, and make sure that the money for the fare is not an obstacle to transit use.

What state issues do you feel don’t get enough attention from either the media or Legislation? The lack of fast, reliable broadband internet in rural areas is a huge issue that does not get enough attention. The pandemic has shown this to be a huge need in our communities. People are working from home, kids are distance learning, and many of us have taken much of our commerce online. Even keeping in contact with friends and family has moved online, especially if you or one of your loved ones are in a high-risk group. Without a solid internet connection, we leave our students, workers, and families behind. 

Finding an answer to solving the state’s homelessness crisis could quite possibly be the issue of the century. What steps do you believe need to be taken to addressing this issue? We need to invest in and incentivize the construction of low-income housing. In addition to this, we need to make permanent, supportive housing a priority in our state. Increasing the availability of addiction services and ensuring people can access the mental healthcare they need are also necessary steps to addressing our homelessness crisis.

Where do you stand on the 2nd Amendment and recent gun control legislation (Ie, the passage of I-1639)? I support the 2nd Amendment right to own guns. The passage of I-1639 with 60% of voters in favor shows that people here were ready for common sense gun control. I stand with them, and do not believe it is in violation of the 2nd Amendment.

Police reform has been a spotlight topic of debate in recent weeks. It’s possible such legislation could come forward to the House or Senate this January to limit the physical power police departments can use against their constituents. Where do you stand on police reform, and more specifically the use of teargas and chokeholds? I am in favor of banning the use of teargas and chokeholds by police. In addition to that, I think we need to reimagine our emergency services. When people call 911, they do not always need police officers to respond. Many times, people focused on mental heath care, conflict resolution, or other community resources would be more appropriate.

What motivates you to get out of bed every morning? My three sons. Working for their future is everything to me. The world is changing, and we will face many obstacles in the future, but I wake up every day committed to making our world a better place not just for my children, but for all. 

Where can voters learn more about you? www.VoteVeronicaLD2.com VoteVeronicaLD2@gmail.com



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