"The problem with unambition is this: Washington's challenges go unresolved for another year." 
The Spokesman Review, Feb. 26, 2014

Job Creation, Education and Transportation
Political bickering has prevailed once again in our state Senate and these critical issues have gone unaddressed.

Job Creation
Reliable and robust communities are built from the middle class out.  Too many of our friends and neighbors of all ages are relying on minimum and low wage jobs to provide for their families.  We need to do better.

Politicians tend to talk a good game on job creation, but many have never met a payroll.  I have spent more than 24 years creating family wage jobs in the Spokane area through my film company North by Northwest Productions.

It wasn't easy starting a company and growing a new industry.  However, what many considered to be challenges, my partners and I saw as advantages.  We continue to compete with cities throughout the world to win projects that bring millions of dollars that not only stay here, but multiply many times throughout our area.

Government needs to help, not hurt the small businesses that are the backbone of our economy.  We must do everything we can to make sure that business can grow and expand here.

My opponent has none of these experiences. 

People move to, stay in, and return to the Spokane-area largely because of our high-quality public schools.  While we have reason to be proud, we need to continue to be competetive.

The Washington State Supreme Court has said the "pace of progress must quicken" regarding adequate funding of basic education.  The state constitution says that education is the "paramount duty" of our state government.  Our highest state court has ordered the legislature to act.  And yet, another legislative session has come and gone without a susbstantive plan.

Unfortunately, my opponent's response was to antagonize, chastise, and criticize the Court. 

Here's what I believe:

  • We must employ a teacher to student ratio that maximizes the educational process.
  • We need to recruit, retain and respect our teachers.  They have not received a cost of living increase in over 6 years.
  • We must insist on high standards for our public schools and provide our students with the tools they need reach their individual potential.

Higher Education
We are very proud of Eastern, Gonzaga, WSU, Whitworth, our other community colleges.  Unfortunately, over the last four years, higher education has become increasingly out of reach for middle class families. Since my opponent has been in office, tuition has nearly doubled and state support for higher education has dropped dramatically.  We must reverse this trend to keep our state competitive in the job market.  I want employers to first look at local graduates.

We need a post-secondary educational system that serves everyone.

The growing medical field in Spokane means there is a need for technical workers and this means we need to encourage access to these programs.  Our community colleges must have the resources to meet this demand.  And, at the same time, we need to support apprenticeship programs for those who want to work in construction and other industries.  A vibrant economy must include everyone!

Why are men and women in the building trades waiting for work when there is universal agreement that investment in our infrastructure is critical to moving our state forward in many areas?  Why do problems with getting products to port persist?  Why would we sacrifice safety on our streets and highways?

The 2014 legislature, failed yet again to pass projects that carry tremendous value here in Eastern Washington.

Here are my priorities:

  • Improvements to the Geiger interchange
  • Improvements to the Medical Lake (902) interchange
  • Completion of the North/South Corridor
  • Improvements to the Cheney/Spokane Highway

These projects create jobs now that will strengthen our economic stability and keep us competitive in the future.


Friends of Rich Cowan (D)
PO Box 30451
Spokane, WA 99223
(509) 496-9460