Gig Harbor resident and state Rep. Jesse Young (R-26th) is seeking re-election after serving his first full term in the state House of Representatives.
Young was appointed to the Legislature to fill a vacant seat in early 2014, and then won the November election to hold the seat for a full two-year term. Before getting into politics, Young worked in information technology and software engineering. His experience in these fields informed his original decision to enter politics.
“As I started looking at a lot of the people down there [in Olympia] that are younger, they’ve basically been in this kind of career-politician mode … There wasn’t a lot of strong corporate IT and financial skill sets being represented there,” Young said. “I thought, well, maybe I could apply my skills down in Olympia and see if I can’t make a better future for my kids.”
When he first entered the Legislature, Young had several specific goals for his time in office, including stopping Tacoma Narrows Bridge toll increases. “This July, the transportation commission was again slated to raise the tolls by 50 cents, and we stopped them. I got the transportation budget allocations necessary to make sure that wouldn’t happen, and so I kept my promise,” Young said.
His other goals included balancing the state budget. “We accomplished that, I led that effort in the house,” Young said, emphasizing his commitment to avoid new taxes or incur debt.
Young’s third major goal was to advocate for teachers and education. “We got COLAs [cost of living adjustments] for teachers refunded again,” he said.
If Young is re-elected in 2016, he will bring with him a new set of priorities and plans for the upcoming term, as well as further development of his previous goals. One of Young’s major bills, the Toll by Coffee Act, would open the bridge toll booth management to bids from private companies that could use the platform to sell food or beverages. “We could turn a $6,000,000 a year hit into a $6,000,000 a year profit,” he said.
Another major priority is bringing information technology jobs to the area. “The way we’ve written our tax incentives isn’t conducive to making [tech companies] come up here,” Young said. “I wish to change that.” He aims to encourage growth in the IT sector with tax incentives and business partnership zones that would make it easier for technology-focused businesses to grow.
Young said he supports education, citing an endorsement by the Washington Education Association. “I’m the only Republican on the western side of the mountains that has a WEA endorsement.” He also has a plan for textbook open sourcing, a way to reduce the need for (and cost of) college textbooks by borrowing materials from the in-house training workshops of major businesses, and wants to fund the expansion of the Little Toasters program (founded by the KP Children’s Home Society) to teach public speaking skills to Peninsula School District elementary school students to boost their confidence.
He is a strong supporter of Career Technical Education and vocational programs in schools, and has produced a plan to encourage CTE focus on local fields like the aerospace and maritime industries.
Young said he also intends to lower the cost of health care by closing loopholes and eliminating common health care fraud schemes.