State Representative Candidates Talk About Change - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

State Representative Candidates Talk About Change

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YAKIMA, Wa.- Republican incumbent Charles Ross and Democratic challenger Chris Ramirez are running for the position of State Representative for the 14th District.

Both Ramirez and Ross are Yakima Valley natives and are involved and concerned with local issues. Right now in Yakima, one of their biggest concerns is gang-related crime. Ross has worked for the 14th District for 2 years and says he's committed to reducing gang activity in the area.

"Changing the laws so that those who feel compelled to join a gang and create havoc in the community, those folks are going to suffer penalties," said Charles Ross.

Ramirez was accepted to law school this fall but deferred his decision until after elections. He acknowledges gangs as a problem, and says the issue can be fought by investing time and money in education.

"Give more students opportunities to obtain higher education degrees and once they're given that opportunity they're more likely to give back to the community," said Chris Ramirez.

Ramirez and Ross are both supporters of early education programs but with  budgets tightening, Ross believes you have to pick and choose your battles.

"You have to prioritize and spend money accordingly, I think state of Washington invests enough money in education," said Ross.

Ross says the local school districts are some of the best in the state and raising taxes is not a part of his plan.

"I'm against bills, measures that increase any kind of fees, I'm against increasing taxes," said Ross.

And while Ross is concerned about lowering taxes, Ramirez is focusing on conserving energy and using alternative sources to save money.

"That's something we can really distinguish ourselves throughout the country and Central Washington and we have 300 days of sun a year, we need to utilize that, utilize our winds, utilize alternative sources," said Ramirez.