Editor's note: Patch has submitted candidate questionnaires to all candidates in the 45th and 48th legislative districts, as well as those in the 1st Congressional District, and will post the responses verbatim as we receive them.
NAME: Cyrus Habib
OFFICE SOUGHT: State Representative, 48th District, Position 2
PARTY AFFILIATION: Democratic
TOWN OF RESIDENCE: Kirkland
CURRENT OCCUPATION: Attorney, Perkins Coie
PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND: A proud graduate of Bellevue Public Schools, I went on to study at Columbia, Oxford (as a Rhodes Scholar) and Yale Law School, before returning to the Eastside. I am a technology and business lawyer at Perkins Coie, where I advise emerging companies on their legal needs, including formations, IP transactions, and financings.
WHAT IS THE MOST PRESSING ISSUE FACING VOTERS IN YOUR DISTRICT?
The most pressing issue for the legislature as a whole is the funding of basic education. The state's Supreme Court recently made clear what many of us have long been saying, the state is not meeting its paramount duty to provide every child a basic education. Given the reluctance of voters to approve new revenue, the challenge for legislators this coming year will be compliance with the McCleary ruling given an already squeezed budget.
For the residents of the 48th District, the completion of the 520 replacement bridge project is also critically important. Additional delays in funding the western landing of the project mean hundreds of millions in added expense, and we simply cannot afford that.
IF ELECTED, WHAT WILL YOU DO IN THE FIRST SIX MONTHS IN OFFICE TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE?
I will work with a bipartisan group of Eastside legislators to ensure that our Eastside transportation priorities, above all completion of the 520 replacement, are included in a transportation package that can pass the legislature and withstand a referendum if necessary.
With regard to education, I will continue to champion making K-12 our top priority in the operating budget, and will also push for smart reforms that will allow us to improve the delivery of education as well as its funding.
DO YOU SUPPORT/OPPOSE REFERENDUM 74: *SHOULD GAY MARRIAGE BE LEGAL IN WASHINGTON*? BRIEFLY, WHY?
I absolutely support Referendum 74. Every American deserves equal protection under the law, and I am proud that Washington will lead the way in passing marriage equality at the ballot box. Having lost my eyesight at a young age, I have always been particularly sensitive to the dignity and respect owed each individual, and there is no doubt in my mind that denying consenting adults the freedom to marry deprives them of an essential civil right.
DO YOU SUPPORT/OPPOSE, INITIATIVE 502 TO MAKE SMALL AMOUNTS OF MARIJUANA LEGAL TO PEOPLE 21 AND OLDER? BRIEFLY, WHY?
I believe that legalizing, taxing and regulating recreational marijuana will yield better outcomes than our current approach, and so I will be voting for this initiative. I am concerned about the adverse effects of marijuana use on our youth, but believe that a public health and awareness approach will be more effective than our current criminal justice strategy, which ties up scarce law enforcement and court resources, costs us millions a year in this state, and unfairly impacts communities of color. I am also concerned about the conflict we would face with federal law, but believe that this will, at the very least, create an opportunity for a national dialogue on marijuana policy.