Tom Pasma, candidate for the Washington State House
Tom Pasma, candidate for the Washington State House

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth and final install­ment in a series about the can­di­dates vying to suc­ceed Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kris Lyt­ton in Washington’s 40th Leg­isla­tive District.

We’re hours away from the con­clu­sion of Washington’s 2018 Top Two elec­tion, which will deter­mine can­di­dates advance to Novem­ber 2018 gen­er­al elec­tion. In the 40th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict alone, four dynam­ic Demo­c­ra­t­ic can­di­dates are vying for the spot Kris Lyt­ton is retir­ing from after many years of ser­vice. The dis­trict includes San Juan Coun­ty, as well as por­tions of What­com and Skag­it Counties.

We exam­ined the can­di­da­cies of Alex Ramel, Debra Lekanoff and Rud Browne in pre­vi­ous install­ments of this series.

Today, we’ll meet Tom Pas­ma.

Pas­ma has a long his­to­ry with the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, serv­ing six­teen years as an offi­cer for the Wash­ing­ton State Democ­rats. His resume boasts many oth­er vol­un­teer ser­vice posi­tions, includ­ing Vol­un­teer Fire­fight­er, Vice Pres­i­dent of the Blan­chard Edi­son Water Asso­ci­a­tion, Board Mem­ber for the Skag­it Coun­ty Boys’ & Girls’ Club, as well as the Founder, Pres­i­dent of his non­prof­it, LEAD (Lead­er­ship, Edu­ca­tion & Advanced Development).

“I have a his­to­ry of get­ting leg­is­la­tion passed,” said Pas­ma in an inter­view with NPI over the week­end. “Every­thing I’ve ever done has been volunteer.”

As a vol­un­teer, pri­vate cit­i­zen, Pas­ma spear­head­ed efforts to cre­ate a state pro­gram that fos­ters young farm­ers into envi­ron­men­tal­ly sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture prac­tices. He was also involved in pass­ing leg­is­la­tion that imple­ment­ed cur­rent-use val­u­a­tion pro­grams for prop­er­ty tax­es on agri­cul­tur­al land.

Pas­ma is also a vol­un­teer auc­tion­eer, help­ing to raise $100 mil­lion for non­prof­its last year around the country.

He has done work with two dif­fer­ent of Wash­ing­ton state’s governors.

In 2009, Gov­er­nor Gre­goire asked Pas­ma to take the lead on the Samish Water­shed Ini­tia­tive, which worked to clean up the water­shed. In 2015, Gov­er­nor Inslee award­ed Pas­ma the Con­ser­va­tion­ist of the Year Award.

For work, Pas­ma has been in the agri­cul­ture busi­ness his entire life.

The same year he was award­ed Con­ser­va­tion­ist of the Year, he host­ed envi­ron­men­tal and cli­mate sci­en­tists at his farm, where they hoped to learn from its sus­tain­able struc­ture to poten­tial­ly help oth­ers around the country.

In Decem­ber, it will be his thir­ti­eth year as a Washingtonian.

When asked what drew him here orig­i­nal­ly, Pas­ma said that it was “a guy named Ronald Rea­gan,” cit­ing that dur­ing his term as pres­i­dent, there was loss of oppor­tu­ni­ty in his home state of Montana.“People move away from lack of oppor­tu­ni­ty and they move to oppor­tu­ni­ty… that’s what I did,” said Pasma.

When asked why he was inspired to run in the 40th Dis­trict, Pas­ma said peo­ple all over the state asked him to run once the open­ing was announced.

“We have a lot of things we need to get done,” he explained.

“You need peo­ple that have some com­mon sense and bipar­ti­san sup­port on ideas that show you can work across the aisle. I’ve nev­er been a politi­cian… We need peo­ple who are actu­al­ly going to do some­thing and have some kind of vision of where we want to go, how we’re going to get there, and be proac­tive about it.”

Should Pas­ma win, there are a num­ber of key issues he hopes to focus on.

“Well, the first thing we need to do, is we need to fund our edu­ca­tion sys­tem with a sus­tain­able method. We have to make that invest­ment… It’s the best invest­ment you could ever make.” He says he’s also push­ing hard for debt-free col­lege, includ­ing for com­mu­ni­ty col­leges, tech­ni­cal and voca­tion­al schools.

Addi­tion­al­ly, Pas­ma is a staunch sup­port­er of green job development.
“If we’re tru­ly com­mit­ted to mov­ing from a car­bon-based econ­o­my to a green, sus­tain­able econ­o­my, we have to have a super­fund for work­ers,” said Pasma.

He cit­ed the suc­cess of Super­fund in clean­ing up Amer­i­ca’s most tox­ic waste dumps.

Pas­ma is also a pro­po­nent for uni­ver­sal health­care and worked with the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion to help encour­age fed­er­al law­mak­ers across the region to vote in favor of the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act (PPA).

“[The PPA] total­ly trans­formed people’s lives all around this coun­try. We could improve it and make it bet­ter, but we’re watch­ing it get dis­man­tled right now.” He hopes to make eas­i­ly acces­si­ble uni­ver­sal health­care a real­i­ty for Washingtonians.

Pas­ma believes that his strong back­ground work­ing to pass leg­is­la­tion, as well as his lengthy his­to­ry of vol­un­teer and pub­lic work will make him a suc­cess­ful rep­re­sen­ta­tive for his district.

“Peo­ple come to me with prob­lems and I try to fix them. They know that I care about them,” said Pasma.

Wash­ing­ton State’s Top Two elec­tion ends tomor­row (August 7th, 2018), when bal­lots are due back. All nine­ty-eight posi­tions in the State House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives are being con­test­ed along with half of the Senate’s forty-nine posi­tions. If you’re a Wash­ing­ton vot­er, be sure to get your bal­lot to a drop box by 8 PM on August 7th or to a post office that day by the last out­go­ing mail col­lec­tion time.

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