Editor's note: Patch has submitted candidate questionnaires to all candidates in local legislative and Congressional districts, and will post the responses verbatim as we receive them.
NAME: Mark Mullet
OFFICE SOUGHT: State Senate, 5th District
PARTY AFFILIATION: Democrat
TOWN OF RESIDENCE: Issaquah
CURRENT OCCUPATION: Owner, Zeeks Pizza and Ben & Jerry's in Issaquah
PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: Graduated from Foster High School in Tukwila in 1990. Graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Finance in 1994. Graduated from the University of Washington with a Master's Degree in Public Affairs in 2008.
Worked eight years for UBS, mostly in London. Worked five years for Bank of America, mostly in New York. Promoted to Managing Director at Bank of America in 2004 as their Global Head of Currency Option trading. Left Bank of America in 2007 and enrolled at the Evans School at the University of Washington to earn a Master's in Public Affairs.
Opened the Zeeks Pizza and Ben and Jerry's in Issaquah in 2009. They currently employee 45 employees, with full time workers receiving medical, dental, and vision benefits.
Elected to the Issaquah City Council in 2009, and still serving in that position. Board Member of the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank since 2008, and a member of the Issaquah Rotary Club since 2008.
WHAT IS THE MOST PRESSING ISSUE FACING VOTERS IN YOUR DISTRICT? Making sure we have the best public schools in the country.
IF ELECTED, WHAT WILL YOU DO IN THE FIRST SIX MONTHS IN OFFICE TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE? Investing in education is the single best way to create jobs and get the economy back on track. I will go to Olympia prepared to do what it takes to adequately fund our public schools. All real and sustained job creation in Washington State will come from us making smart investments in education in 2013. Everything I was able to achieve in life was because of the public education I received in high school and college. I want to make sure my four daughters receive that same opportunity for success through their public schooling.
To generate money for public schools, the State should follow the King County Healthy Incentives model. This provides a financial incentive for staff to assume responsibility for their personal health and how they spend precious health care dollars. This program saved King County tens of millions of dollars, and I'm optimistic that it could save the State hundreds of millions of dollars. All of this savings should be invested back into our Public Schools, from early learning up to higher education, and everything in the middle. To achieve this goal we need an elected official who is not viewed as the "enemy" by the labor unions. Somebody who has proven they will listen to their issues, not bad mouth them in the press, and work in a collaborative and positive manner with them to address the rising health cares costs in our State budget.
DO YOU SUPPORT/OPPOSE REFERENDUM 74: SHOULD GAY MARRIAGE BE LEGAL IN WASHINGTON? BRIEFLY, WHY? Yes, I support it. Of all nuanced issues in politics, this is the most black and white to me. America is a country dedicated to the protection of civil rights, and the right to marry the person you love is one of them. This initiative is our state's opportunity to update our laws to match our values.
DO YOU SUPPORT/OPPOSE, INITIATIVE 502 TO MAKE SMALL AMOUNTS OF MARIJUANA LEGAL TO PEOPLE 21 AND OLDER? BRIEFLY, WHY? My personal battle on this front has always been supporting Medical Marijuana. Even though full legalization has not been a personal goal for me, I'm going to support this initiative on the ballot to send a message to the Federal Government that our current policy on marijuana does not work. Marijuana should not be classified the same as harder core drugs, and we should not be wasting precious tax payer dollars by putting people who smoke marijuana in jail.
I'm not sure how this issue would work if passed at the State level. It is clear we will be in conflict with Federal laws, but hopefully it sends a strong message to the rest of the country. We have some work to do around marijuana to free up our public safety officials to focus on more important issues.