SEATTLE — Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna clashed Thursday night over same-sex marriage, Medicaid and the best way to get more money to the state’s public schools.
Each accused the other of ignoring the “will of the voters” when it was convenient. Each claimed the ability to forge bipartisan consensus while contending the other was tainted by their recent government service.
But neither broke new ground in a televised gubernatorial debate in Seattle sponsored by most of the city’s television stations.
Inslee, a former Democratic congressman, continued to call a possible property tax shift to rearrange funding for public schools a gimmick. Legislative budget leaders of both parties have suggested the state assume more of the property taxes now collected by school districts.
“It’s a classic maneuver by politicians in Olympia,” Inslee said.
Unlike McKenna, he hasn’t been in Olympia the past seven years, he added.
“The reason he hasn’t been in Olympia the last seven years is because he’s been in Washington, D.C., the last 15 years,” McKenna shot back, adding Inslee could bring the national level of gridlock and partisanship to the state capital. While McKenna has worked with members of both parties to pass key legislation during his two terms as attorney general, he said, Inslee has a reputation for strong partisanship on his legislation.
Not always, Inslee countered, noting he worked with a Kansas Republican in the fight to help Boeing get into a position to win an Air Force contract to build the next generation of refueling tankers.