"Haugen files, races set"
July 3, 2008 · Updated 12:45 PM
"Friday, as expected, Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, formally announced her intentions to return to the 10th District Senate seat she's occupied for the past eight years.Haugen said she waited until the last day of candidate filing week to make her announcement because she likes to keep her work and her politics separate.I've had so many legislative obligations to take care of, I put it off as long as I could, she said Monday afternoon, acknowledging that a campaign can become a full-time job once it starts.This time around, Democrat Haugen will face a challenge from Republican Norma Smith of Clinton. Smith has worked for U.S. Representative Jack Metcalf, R-Langley, as a field representative to three counties and as a liaison to seniors, local governments, the military and small business.Both Haugen and Smith got started in elective office as members of their community school boards.Haugen first went to Olympia as a House member in 1982. She said the issues that brought her into politics then are the same ones that make her want to go back now.No question about it, she said. Haugen listed education and growth management as two of her prime causes. Since she first entered politics, transportation issues have also risen to the top of her list. Haugen describes transportation as a crisis issue for the state, especially since the passage of Initiative 695 last November. The so-called car tab initiative cut more than a half billion dollars per year in transportation funding, with about half of that going to support local transit districts and state ferries. After an extended legislative session this winter, lawmakers were able to restore only a portion of the lost transportation dollars and only on a short-term basis.As chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, Haugen said she is in a position to help protect local ferry service and highways as more cuts brought on by I-695 become necessary.Haugen said she has long supported the public initiative process but doesn't like the way it's headed, with major media campaigns and paid signature gatherers.It was a peoples' process but now it's become a special interest process, she said. Huge amounts of money are put into these initiatives now.When asked whether she considers herself a liberal, conservative or moderate, Haugen said her stance on issues is constituent-driven.I'm the Senator from the 10th District. I represent the people of the district, she said. Both (political) parties have a fringe. The people in the center from both parties solve the problems.As the proprietor of her own beauty shop for 20 years, Haugen said she supports business and economic development. But she has a strong record of casting environmental votes as well.I represent islands. People who live on islands tend to be interested in the environment, she said.Haugen was a leader in writing the state's sweeping and still-controversial 1990 Growth Management Act which requires fast-growing cities and counties to prepare 20-year plans on dealing with increasing population.Early in her campaign, Smith challenged Haugen to run a race free from personal attacks and negative advertising. Haugen agreed to the concept but said she would not sign a pledge Smith had written. She stated that a provision of the pledge calling for both sides to hand over all advertising material prior to its release was unworkable. District 10 includes all of Island County as well as parts of Snohomish and Skagit counties."