May 24, 2022
On this midweek show, Crystal chats with Jeff Manson about his campaign for State Representative in the 36th Legislative District - why he decided to run, how the last legislative session went, and where he stands on issues such as COVID response and recovery, housing affordability and zoning, homelessness, guaranteed basic income, public safety, drug decriminalization, and climate change.
As always, a full text transcript of the show is available below and at officialhacksandwonks.com.
Find the host, Crystal, on Twitter at @finchfrii and find Jeff at @VoteJeffManson.
Campaign Website - Jeff Manson: https://www.votejeffmanson.com/
[00:00:00] Crystal Fincher: Welcome to Hacks & Wonks. I'm Crystal Fincher, and I'm a political consultant and your host. On this show, we talk with policy wonks and political hacks to gather insight into local politics and policy in Washington state through the lens of those doing the work with behind-the-scenes perspectives on what's happening, why it's happening, and what you can do about it. Full transcripts and resources referenced in the show are always available at officialhacksandwonks.com and in our episode notes. Well today, I am very excited to welcome to the program, Jeff Manson, who's a candidate for the 36th District State House seat. Welcome, Jeff.
[00:00:49] Jeff Manson: It's great to be here, Crystal - thank you.
[00:00:51] Crystal Fincher: It's great to be here, it's great to see you. We were in the IDF class of 2010 together.
[00:00:59] Jeff Manson: Yes we were - 2010 forever.
[00:01:01] Crystal Fincher: 2010 forever. So I'm thrilled to have you on here and to have this conversation, excited to see you again. So starting off, what made you choose to run?
[00:01:12] Jeff Manson: Yeah - great question. So, I'm an administrative law judge with the state, I'm a labor leader, and a disability community advocate. As a state administrative law judge, we resolve disputes that people have with state government - so I see every day how underfunded government affects people, including the most vulnerable individuals in our state. So I'm running for State Representative to fund the services and infrastructure that we need and utilizing progressive revenue sources.
I've been fighting for progressive values since the fourth grade, when I co-founded my elementary school's Earth Club after reading a book for kids on the environment - it was 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth and each page described an environmental problem and then what a kid could do about. And I did most of the things and it really taught me not only about environmental issues at a young age, but also that one person can make a difference - if you get off your butt and start doing stuff, you can make incremental differences and possibly take that to scale. So since then I've developed a track record of effecting progressive policy change. I was lucky to go to law school at Seattle University, where I did an emphasis in poverty and inequality law, and I represented people with disabilities as a young attorney. But I saw them struggle with our legal system - there's just a lot of systemic barriers, especially for people with disabilities to accessing justice. So I gathered legal and disability experts and people with disabilities, and we wrote a guide for judges on how to accommodate people in legal proceedings.
And then, when I saw the negative effects of corporate and wealthy donations on our democracy, I became a leader with the group that brought the Democracy Voucher program to Seattle City elections. And it took about a decade - we had to change state law first, and then we tried to go to the ballot and decided not to, then we did go to the ballot and we failed, and then we went to the ballot again a couple of years later and were finally successful - and it's been a really successful program. And then in my own profession, our salaries were stagnating, we were having issues in our workplace. But we were not allowed as - even though we're state employees as administrative law judges - we were not allowed to collectively bargain for almost 40 years. So a few years ago I organized my colleagues and we successfully lobbied the Legislature - my own representative who I'm running to replace, Representative Noel Frame, sponsored the bill. And we successfully got collective bargaining rights for administrative law judges. And in the few weeks before COVID shut everything down, we got 85% of our judges to sign union authorization cards. So, and now we're unionized, we've got a contract, we got a salary increase, and last year I was elected as President of WFSE Local 562.
So I'm a restless personality - always seeing problems and trying to fix them and pulling people together to fix them - and I can't wait to hopefully be elected so I can work for the people of the 36th doing the same stuff in the legislature.
[00:04:33] Crystal Fincher: Yes, and it is exciting to have watched you do all of this over the years and get the opportunity to - see so many more people get the opportunity to see all of the work that you've done and how helpful that has been.
You just mentioned COVID. Right now, we're still dealing with COVID, but trying to move forward with COVID - sometimes lurching forward prematurely in how we're dealing with COVID. And so it seems like - to a number of people still - there still needs to be more done to mitigate COVID. I was just - a friend just yesterday came down with COVID. Lots of talk about - hey, we have the tools to address this, we have therapeutics and Paxlovid - and she and others that I've known have had challenges even accessing that with COVID, in addition to testing and some of the financial mitigation things. Should we - should the Legislature be doing more to keep us safe from COVID, and if they should, what should be happening from the legislative point of view?
[00:05:44] Jeff Manson: Yeah, it seems like two steps forward, one step back - or sometimes two steps forward, three steps back - depending on the season. It's been a long couple of years - I guess we're on 26 months now. And yeah, this isn't over. I don't know about you or the listeners, but it seems like more people that I know have caught it in the last few weeks than in the couple of years prior to that. And yeah, so it isn't over. Ideally this would be handled at the federal level, and I think the federal government has done some things right and some things not right. And our federal system, I think, makes it more difficult - when we first had the vaccines last year, I waited my turn until my category came up and then I went online to try to find a place, and it was just a mess to just find - it's like, can't you just tell me where to go. I'll drive to Yakima - I'll totally drive to Yakima if that's my assigned place - just tell me where to go instead of giving me 20 websites to click on, all of which say it's full. If the federal government had just taken it over, it may have run more smoothly, but we have this decentralized form of government in this country where the states were in charge and then they would turn it over to the counties. And I think we've seen some of the flaws in that system, especially when there's a crisis. I think federalism creates - we have the laboratories of democracy or whatnot - but in a crisis where you have emergencies declared and you need quick responses and top-down efficiency, that decentralized system doesn't work very well.
So I think from the Legislature - what the Legislature can do - is still provide the resources that people need, who are not able to stop quarantining. In my job, we adjudicate unemployment benefits appeals, and that's most of what I'm doing right now - we still have a big backlog. And there's still lots of people who are not comfortable leaving their homes, either because of their own health situation, or that of someone else in their household, or of a parent they care for in another household, or because their child is under five years old. And it's one of the main reasons a lot of people aren't going back to work yet. And why we have a - we talk about supply chain issues, but we have a labor supply issue in almost every industry right now. And people aren't able to go back to work 'cause they don't feel safe doing it. So for those who can't, I think we need to continue some of the safety net programs that we had for a year, year and a half, but many of which have expired.
And then beyond that, I think a lot of it is communication - there are free tests that - I bought a test at a grocery store, it was 20 bucks when it's like - oh, wait a minute, I could have ordered one of these if only I had known to go to this website and then do this and then do that. I think our state and our county health departments could help with that communication - that does require funding though, and the state provides a lot of that funding.
[00:08:56] Crystal Fincher: All right. Well, you talk about what the Legislature has done here in our state. We just got done recently with a session where there are some things that happened that were great and other things that were pretty disappointing. What was your evaluation of this past session? What would you have done differently than our Legislature did?
[00:09:19] Jeff Manson: Yeah, there were, like any session, there were highs and lows. Some of the high - we got a transportation package which was good. It wasn't a perfect transportation package, but it does fund a lot of really good things, including transit, bike, and pedestrian infrastructure. We got - for education, it's still just a - we haven't fully funded education in my mind yet, but we did take a step in the right direction. Teachers got a COLA [Cost-of-Living Adjustment], we got more funding for school counselors and nurses and social workers. But there were also some disappointments - there were some environmental bills that didn't pass. We had electric vehicle subsidies that didn't pass and there were some other environmental bills that we'll need to take up next year. And I think we have a housing crisis in the state - but in particular in Seattle, it's a regional housing market, but we see it acutely here in Seattle. And I think leaving housing decisions to the cities hasn't worked and there is a place for the state to step in. And I know Jessica Bateman, Representative Bateman, had a bill. There were a few different versions of it before it died, but I think we need to - I support the concept of the state directing changes in zoning and we should - that should be a priority next session.
[00:10:49] Crystal Fincher: Should we be increasing zoning density in single-family neighborhoods?
[00:10:53] Jeff Manson: I think in some of them - the devil will be in the details, but I think - we're at tens of thousands of housing units behind where we need to be. People are moving here and staying here faster than we're building housing units. And the result has been increased housing prices. We're seeing housing prices increase across the country the last year or so, but Seattle has been seeing this much longer than just the last year. And the result is that people are being priced out of the City or onto our streets. And so we need to - we need more housing stock. We need it - and of every type - we need more large apartment buildings in transit corridors, we need more duplexes and fourplexes. And the City of Seattle has taken some steps in recent years to add density, which I've supported - more ADUs [Accessory Dwelling Units], some up-zoning in urban villages. But a lot of cities elsewhere in the region haven't done the same, so I think state action is needed to prod that along. And ADUs and DADUs [Detached Accessory Dwelling Units] - I think that's great and for those who are able to afford to build one or renovate for one - it's wonderful. But the first year after that change, we saw an increase of about 300 ADU and DADU permits than the previous year. And 300 housing units - that's one large apartment complex, it's just a drop in the bucket. It's great, but we need to attack this from all angles, but it's just a drop in the bucket compared to the tens of thousands of units that we need over the next several years.
[00:12:39] Crystal Fincher: Do you support the social housing initiative that is currently gathering signatures in the City of Seattle. And do you think that's an approach that could be taken statewide?
[00:12:49] Jeff Manson: I'm very intrigued by it - I've not read the actual initiative, but I understand from what I've read, that it's a model that's been used in Europe, especially in Vienna. So I'm very intrigued by the idea and excited about the idea. I think we need to try as many things as we can and see what works. I need to see how it pencils out and what it looks like before I make a decision about whether I'll support it at the ballot or not, but I really like that we're having the conversation. And if it does look like it's a model that could work, then I think it should be expanded to the rest of the state.
I do - we were talking about the market rate housing and supply and demand, which is a big part of housing affordability. But I really think that there is a significant - government should also be responsible for subsidizing and directly building housing units. We need both the free market and the commons to take responsibility for housing people - and whether that's traditional public housing, or Section 8, or subsidies - the government needs to be stepping up to the plate. And the state provides a lot of the funding for those - cities and counties make a lot of the micro-level decisions, but the state provides funding for the Housing Trust Fund. This last session, we put money in for about 2000 units of supportive housing, which is great - it may not be enough, but it's great. But we really need government being part of this market. There's the free market, but it should be - we should have a safety net of housing, just like we have a safety net of food assistance for low-income people and disability benefits for people. We need a housing benefit, so to speak, and government role in that space.
[00:14:42] Crystal Fincher: And part of our housing problem, housing affordability problem, is one of the root causes of homelessness. And we are experiencing a crisis of homelessness. What are you proposing, that you can do as a legislator, to help make a tangible difference?
[00:15:05] Jeff Manson: Yeah, and it really comes back to funding. There can be - there's some at the edges, we can tweak policies to help with homelessness, but really it's a funding issue. We need more funding for more housing options, and that's really at every level - that's emergency shelter, it's tiny homes, it's supportive housing as I mentioned, and it's other public housing that I mentioned. But we have an acute crisis right now, and we need to get people off of the streets and into some sort of shelter that is safer for them and safer for all of us. And then longer term, increasing our housing stock will reduce the root cause, which is evictions - a lot of people are homeless. They were not born homeless - most of them. They, at some point, lost their housing or lost their support system. So yeah, it's really about funding and our state government has been, I believe, chronically underfunded for decades. And really that gets back to our tax structure. We have the worst tax structure in the country, where the lowest-income people pay the most and the wealthiest pay the least, and it's completely upside down. So we need more progressive revenue sources to fund things like housing and everything else that we feel like we need as a society.
[00:16:30] Crystal Fincher: There are currently about 30 cities across the country piloting some form of a guaranteed basic income program - a set amount of money each month targeted to low-income households just to help take care of basic needs. And with it showing results in everything from health outcomes, to educational outcomes, to public safety outcomes. Do you support a guaranteed basic income?
[00:16:58] Jeff Manson: I love the idea and I think we should continue experimenting with it. And actually, I am in the public benefits arena where everything - a lot of things are means-tested - unemployment benefits aren't, it's an insurance program. But in my office, we adjudicate food assistance, TANF [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families], state disability benefits, Medicaid - and these are all means-tested programs. And maybe I'm going to get myself in trouble with my union because I'm going to propose putting us out of work. But what we do is try to figure out whether people qualify for these programs. Somebody will be getting - say, $182 per month in food assistance. And then they get a letter that reduces it from $182 to $165, so it's gone down $17 a month. They request a hearing, they come to the hearing. And so now we have this whole hearing about whether they should have their benefits reduced by $17, and then I issue a decision and then it's implemented. And this is all after the person shows up in a building, they fill out paperwork, they go to their doctor or they go to their landlord to get supporting documentation, a financial worker and sometimes a social worker with DSHS looks it up - so we've got all of this expense for the bureaucracy of determining how much this person should - just give everybody $200 per month of food assistance. Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, you, me, everybody - and is $200 the right amount? I don't know, but I think the concept of UBI [Universal Basic Income] has helped sort of change the conversation about this. There is so much bureaucracy around a lot of these means-tested programs, where if you just gave it to people, we know that almost everybody spends it in the way that we think people should spend it, which is on their basic needs.
I think we saw this with the refundable childcare tax credit at the federal level - I don't think we would have had that conversation if it wasn't for Andrew Yang and him talking about UBI in the previous presidential election - even Mitt Romney was on board with a refundable child tax credit for everybody, which gives it to people who have children, who are the ones who need it. And it was too bad that it hasn't been extended, but I think all the studies have shown that it's been better than just about anything to reduce child poverty in this country. So wherever - actually having UBI like Andrew Yang was talking about is incredibly expensive, and so I wouldn't want to flip the switch and necessarily devote resources to giving everybody thousands of dollars per month right now. But I do think the concept is a good one for changing our approach to a lot of these public benefits. It is also demeaning as hell to go through the process of getting public benefits. You jump through all these hoops just to prove that you're poor enough, or disabled enough, or fleeing domestic violence enough - to get the paperwork necessary to prove that you're fleeing a domestic violence situation is awful. It's retraumatizing just to get what you need to survive on the street, because we don't have public benefits that really house everybody. Most of the benefits and most of the people I see in hearings in King County are unhoused people trying to get benefits - just to eat, much less get a job or whatnot.
[00:20:26] Crystal Fincher: Yeah, that is the current situation and it is a shame, and we can do better. Another area where we can and have to do better is in keeping people safe. It's a concern that a lot of people have - people are looking at crime - wondering if they're going to be victimized and wondering if we're doing the right things about it. What can you do in your capacity as a state legislator to make people safer?
[00:20:55] Jeff Manson: Yeah, no, it's a real issue, and it's something I feel - I live in Greenwood, I ride the E line downtown and it's an adventure every time. I've had stuff stolen and I've been doorbelling for about a month now, and it's what I hear more than just about anything. I think it's - as Democrats nationally - we're out of practice talking about crime. You know what I mean? Crime has been much lower - even now - over the last 20 years, 30 years than it was in say the 70s and the 80s. And now that it's ticking back up, and not just ticking back up, but accelerating back up here and nationwide, I think we're trying to figure out how to talk about it again. But it is going up and one of the basic public duties is to protect citizens.
And I think it goes back to underfunded government, both on the services side and the criminal justice system side. On services, I think if you give people housing and you provide mental health supports, addiction supports, and provide access to community and to both government and individual support, then that's the root cause of a lot of crime. And we have not been - part of what we're seeing now is the results of under-investment in our government supports over the last several decades. So I think first and foremost, we need to get people housed and give them the support they need for their own individual recovery. I do believe housing needs to come first because anyone who's trying to take a step towards recovery, whether it's mental health or addiction, is just not gonna be able to take that first step if they are in fight-or-flight mode, 24/7 on the streets, and more vulnerable to the kind of crime we're talking about than the rest of us are. But once they are housed, then there's at least the opportunity to be able to get them services that they need.
I also think we need more funding on the criminal justice side. Our courts have a two-year backlog in criminal trials, we don't have enough prosecutors or defenders or investigators or paralegals or social workers or mental health therapists. And we also have a police force, law enforcement that at least in Seattle has seen a lot of people leave. And I have mixed feelings about law enforcement, especially the last couple of years - after the murder of George Floyd, there was a big movement to increase accountability and oversight of police, which I 100% supported. We can not have law enforcement killing Black and Brown people and not having any consequences. So I supported the reforms from two sessions ago and was opposed to many of the attempts to roll those back this past session.
But, while we do need accountability, while we need training, and while we need independent oversight, we still do need law enforcement - often they're responding to things that others could respond to. Maybe we don't need law enforcement to respond to every mental health crisis, but we do still need police officers and Seattle Police Department is down about 25% of their officers. They have homicide detectives who are now responding to 911 calls. So I do think our whole criminal justice system, including alternatives to incarceration and mental health supports, all need funding. And as a public servant myself, I see underfunded government in my line of work, and I think we should fully fund my public service, just like we need to fund the public servants who teach in our schools, and public servants who try our cases, and the public servants - the police, firefighters, first responders, who are the frontlines of our criminal justice system.
[00:25:06] Crystal Fincher: Well, and you bring up an interesting point there in - looking at police and having them to respond to certain things, also looking at alternative responses or things that get more to treating the root cause. When, just as a general approach to crime, do you think - right now the majority of our resources are going into responses to crime pretty much after they've happened and trying to figure out are those right resources there, whether it's police or in the criminal legal system, to have it there. And we have severely underfunded alternative responses that get more to the root causes. So should we be shifting that priority in how we allocate our resources towards prevention and keeping people from being victimized in the first place?
[00:25:58] Jeff Manson: Yes, but I think we can do both, and. I think it's all of the above. And I think after - a couple of years ago there was the slogan, Defund the Police. And I think it - I never thought that was the best slogan at the time or now, but I think the intent behind that for a lot of people who said that was - we should be funding alternatives to police response, and alternatives to incarceration, alternatives to solely punitive response - which I am 100% in support of. I don't think, and as someone who thinks government's underfunded and as a progressive Democrat, I don't think it's a zero-sum game. I don't think in order to fund something, you have to take away from another government service. I think law enforcement - just like firefighting, just like roads and electricity - are just a basic government resource that should be funded at a basic level. But in terms of where we should be directing new resources - should be towards those alternatives and getting at the root cause of a lot of crime.
We have an acute crisis right now in that people call 911, or call the police, and they literally don't get a response. That's an immediate right now, this year, this month issue. While, on the other hand, the reason we're having an uptick in crime is that over the last couple of decades, we haven't invested in all this stuff to prevent the crime. So you need both - you need to attack the acute problem right now, but you also need to lay the groundwork and start investing in the social infrastructure to prevent crime in the future. And also when we talk about alternatives to incarceration, Drug Court is amazing - anecdotes say this, but studies show as well that those who successfully do Drug Court, it is a life-changing experience. But you don't get into Drug Court unless a police officer arrests you first. So I don't want to suggest that we start arresting people in order to get them into treatment that they need. But often it is the mechanism that gets them into where they need to go.
I mean, Drug Court is hard - people talk about it - when I say people, people who may come at this from a different perspective than me - it's like, oh, that's the easy way out. It's just handing them services instead of actually being tough on crime or whatnot, but Drug Court's hard - you have to make regular court appearances, you have mandatory treatment, regular drug tests, and if you slip up you're back to jail. But those who graduate, who actually get all the way through, actually stay clean and get housed and become productive members of society. And we need to expand that opportunity - and things like LEAD, Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, is another great program that - we hear the stories of how it's successful, but also the studies show that it actually has good outcomes and the amount of money invested is less than jailing somebody. But it is law enforcement that is assisting that diversion - it's that interaction with law enforcement that is allowing that to happen. So -
[00:29:22] Crystal Fincher: Well and that brings up an interesting question. So in your perspective, should addiction, or even possession, be criminalized? Is that the best approach, or should we be treating it like a public health problem?
[00:29:33] Jeff Manson: No, it's absolutely a public health problem. Yeah, it's - if you're pulled over and you've got half a ton of meth in your truck or something that's different, but yeah - simple possession, just being an addict - that is, these are people who are sick and they need treatment, just like someone who has COVID or cancer. It is a public health problem, and I very much believe in a harm reduction approach to addiction.
But I do think that a lot of the property crime that we're seeing and other kinds of low-level criminal activity is the result of addiction. It doesn't mean that all addicts commit crimes - not all homeless people commit crimes, it's a unfair stereotype - but a lot of the criminal activity that we're seeing - packages stolen from porches, windows being broken in small businesses - a lot of that is people trying to feed their addiction and that's not an excuse for the behavior, but it is an explanation of the root cause of a lot of what we're seeing.
[00:30:47] Crystal Fincher: And seemingly a roadmap to how to reduce the occurrences of crime committed as a result of addiction or dependency - that if we solve the root, then we also solve for the crime in many of those instances.
I'm also wondering - we need to make such dramatic progress in terms of our approach to climate change, in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in mitigating the impacts that we're already feeling and that those who are most marginalized are feeling most acutely. And just starting off, our transportation sector is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, so it seems like any solution needs to start there and it needs to be substantive. What would you propose, especially that impacts transportation-related emissions, to reduce those and help meet our climate goals?
[00:31:54] Jeff Manson: Yeah, you know what? I was in fourth grade and I read the environment book, I remember explaining climate change to my parents and it was news to them - this was 1990, so it was news to them. I remember telling them - look, this is my future, mom and dad. And now I'm realizing now it's our present, right? And it's going to get worse, even if we do all the things right, it's going to get worse. But we've got the smoke from forest fires in our summer days, our few summer days here in Seattle, we can see the glaciers get smaller and smaller on the mountains every year. I have a family member who was essentially a climate refugee, who was living in a more tropical area and two Category 5 hurricanes left her without housing. She fortunately had the supports necessary to relocate, but this is scary.
Fortunately, Washington State has been arguably the leader among the states in tackling climate change. Unfortunately, that's nowhere near close enough, but we should continue to push that envelope and be on the forefront as a state, not just for our own sake and doing our own part, but also to be a model for other states and other countries - look, here's what you can do. And not only is it not devastating to your economy to make these transitions, but it actually can make an economy more resilient if you do it the right way.
So in terms of the things we need to do, we had a transportation package this last session. I don't think we need to wait another 10 years for the next transportation package, which has sort of been the model - it's 6 to 10 years between transportation packages. There was no gas tax increase on this last one. Some of it was federal money that was passing through, so I think there's an opportunity - maybe not this next session, but within the next couple - to do another transportation package which should be very heavily focused on climate-friendly infrastructure - transit and other alternative modes of transportation. We have the Link Light Rail coming through the middle of the 36th a decade from now, right through Interbay and into Ballard. And we need to make sure that - first of all, that happens, but also that it happens in a way that we have a light rail system that people are actually going to ride. And I think that means having light rail underground under the Ship Canal. We just saw that the Coast Guard is saying that any bridge would need to be - I think it's 205 feet above - and I saw the drawing -
[00:34:36] Crystal Fincher: Gotta accommodate those mega-yachts.
[00:34:38] Jeff Manson: You gotta accommodate the mega-yachts.
[00:34:40] Crystal Fincher: That's a big priority.
[00:34:41] Jeff Manson: And maybe - I don't know if there are other vessels that would also require it or not, but there's an easy solution here, guys - go under the Ship Canal. It's not that deep, and actually it turns out that a tunnel is not that much more expensive than going above ground than we thought it would be. It's not that tunneling got cheaper it's that we're realizing the cost of going above ground is even more expensive than it used to be. And now with the bridge height needing to be that high, it's probably even more expensive. So, if the state needs to provide additional funding in order to make that happen, then let's do it. If we can find funding from some other third party source, that'd be great. But I think this is going to be - this is a hundred year decision, right? Like wherever this line goes and wherever these stops go, those stops will still be there a hundred years from now. We have to get this right now and we can't just say - oh, interest rates went up by 0.5%, therefore we need to remove a stop or we need to do it this way or that way. By going underground, it also allows the light rail to go west of 15th Avenue - right now, the proposals are along 14th, but that's not where people want to go. The historical downtown Ballard, which will still be the historical downtown Ballard a hundred years from now, is about six blocks west of where they're wanting to send it. If you go underground, then you're not having to destroy all those buildings and we need to provide the funding for that. Whether that's a transportation package or some other source, I don't know, but -
[00:36:18] Crystal Fincher: If you do get the opportunity to vote on a new transportation package, or help shape it - will you vote or support a package that includes highway expansion?
[00:36:29] Jeff Manson: Not if that's the overwhelming priority of the money - what the priority needs to be - green infrastructure and transit. And representing the 36th - my duty would be to do the best that I can for the 36th District. And we already have two highways - we don't need anymore. Now would I absolutely never vote for something that expanded a highway? Sometimes you have to make compromises - there are also - I would be open to an argument about a freight corridor or something. Maybe there's a one particular spot where there needs to be an expansion. But overall, my philosophy is - the place that we are the farthest behind from where we should be is in terms of our transit system. We are 40 to 50 years behind where we should be on transit.
[00:37:19] Crystal Fincher: What more can we do to help meet our goals? We've taken actions, but we're still behind our goals. We need to catch up and accelerate. Is there anything else we can do outside of our transportation system? Action that you could take to help make that change?
[00:37:39] Jeff Manson: Yeah, there's a lot we can do. And our own goals are reduced carbon emissions by about half by 2030 - we're almost to 2030. It sounds weird to say that, but we're talking about - I would be in a legislative session in 2023. Those policy - the laws would take effect summer of 2023 and the actual effects of those policies won't even start until 2024, and then we're only basically five years away from 2030. So we have to do whatever we're going to do now. There are some things that did not pass this last session, which is where we can easily just start off - electric vehicle subsidies didn't pass - we should do that in order to encourage the electrification of our vehicle fleet and people's cars. There was a bill to require climate impacts to be part of comprehensive plans and the Growth Management Act that didn't pass - something we should look at. Other opportunities to move towards more electrification of homes - some of those bills didn't pass. So it was just a lot of opportunities to invest in our electric grid. We already have one of the less carbon-emitting electric grids since we have so much hydroelectric power in this state, but if we're going to electrify homes and vehicles, we are going to need more electrical capacity than we have historically. So that means we're going to have to expand our electric grid, and we really have an opportunity to model for the nation and the world on how you can build an electric grid that is totally carbon neutral. We can build more wind farms, more solar power, and the transmission lines to get it to population centers. We need to move - we need cleaning up the electric grid and moving things towards electricity that are not currently electricity. That's about 90%, probably, of our carbon goals - transportation being electric and investing in transit, and then electrifying pretty much every building, vehicle, or tool that we have is really the key to solving climate change.
[00:40:10] Crystal Fincher: Well, and as we conclude our time today and are wrapping up, what is it that you think sets you apart from the crowded field of candidates that you are competing against in the 36th and how will voters' lives feel different as a result of you being their elected representative?
[00:40:31] Jeff Manson: Well, I think I bring two things to the race primarily. One is - I have been doing, doing, doing to solve problems like this since I was a kid. I am not comfortable sitting still when I see a problem - I want to fix it. And I know that sometimes it takes a decade or more, it often takes working with a lot of other people. And I've been following that model for 30 years now, since I was 10 or 11 years old. And that's - I think that's the model of action that we want in a legislator - someone who sees a problem, is motivated and works their butt off to try to solve it, and is able to bring people together to do that. And I think I have a track record of doing that with progressive causes over the years. And I think the other is just an expertise in state government. I literally see how state laws and state budgets affect thousands of people every year and know at a granular level, how a turn of phrase in a statute can affect the outcome in an individual's case, or how a reduction in the state disability benefit by 20% results in changes in people's lives. And I think that perspective and being able to bring those stories of the people in my hearings into the Legislature and being able to speak to it from the perspective that I've been in, in my day job, could make a real difference. And besides that, I just love the 36th District. I've been there - I've been in this district for 15 years, it's a beautiful place, wonderful people - for those who could still afford to live in it. And would just really be honored to represent the 36th District in the Legislature and would just be such a joy to solve problems for people in the district.
[00:42:28] Crystal Fincher: Well, thank you so much for joining us here today.
[00:42:31] Jeff Manson: Thank you, Crystal.
[00:42:32] Crystal Fincher: I thank you all for listening to Hacks & Wonks on KVRU 105.7 FM. The producer of Hacks & Wonks Lisl Stadler with assistance from Shannon Cheng. You can find me on Twitter @finchfrii, spelled F-I-N-C-H-F-R-I-I. Now you can follow Hacks & Wonks on iTunes, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts - just type "Hacks & Wonks" into the search bar. Be sure to subscribe to get our Friday almost-live shows and our midweek show delivered to your podcast feed. If you like us, leave a review wherever you listen to Hacks & Wonks. You can also get a full transcript of this episode and links to the resources referenced in the show at officialhacksandwonks.com and in the episode notes.
Thanks for tuning in - we'll talk to you next time.