Washington state needs a different approach to transportation and health care insurance, gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi said Thursday night in Port Angeles.
The former Republican state Senator who represented East King Countys Fifth District is running against Gov. Christine Gregoire to whom he lost a disputed election in 2004.
Rossi, 48, is a commercial real estate investment broker. He manages and owns real estate properties and received his bachelors degree in business management from Seattle University.
He stuck to his stump speech Thursday night during a 30-minute address to about 50 donors at the Port Angeles Yacht Club that was hosted by the North Peninsula Building Association.
Rossi talked about the disputed 2004 election and reforms that resulted from it as well as the projected state budget deficit and how as chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee in 2003, he erased a $2 billion budget deficit without raising taxes or impacting the states most vulnerable residents.
But after the speech, Rossi discussed his plans for the states transportation and health care insurance systems.
Rossi said his transportation plan provides $368 million for the ferry systems capital budget to build new ferries and improve terminals by dedicating 40 percent of the state sales tax to transportation projects.
You cant finance bonds for future capital projects with the gas tax. Anyone who is relying upon the gas tax is living in the past, he said.
Rossi also said the projected budget deficit is about 7 percent and he was able to find 12 percent in budget savings as chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee.
As governor, he will be able to find even more savings since he will have more staff and other resources at his disposal, Rossi said.
He added his approach to health care would be a different, market-oriented approach rather than the one payor system being sought by Gregoire.
Washington has 50 mandated items that insurance companies must include in their health insurance policies while Idaho has only 14, which drives insurance companies out of the state, he said.
I want to have the health insurance companies chasing you around the state seeking out your business, Rossi said.
When Florida reduced its number of mandated items for health insurance policies, it saw health insurance policy choices increase and prices for those policies decrease, he said.
Prior to his speech, Rossi also toured the Port Angeles Hardwood mill and attended meetings in Forks. He visited the North Olympic Peninsula in April 2004 during his first campaign against Gregoire.
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