[Note: Washington State Wire reporter Erik Smith did not participate in these endorsements.]
We asked a collection of staff, readers, occasional contributors and capitol insiders to help us fill out our ballots. We don’t usually go through the long list of legislative races, however there are several standout recommendations we feel compelled to make. The Democratic House is poised to roar back with Frank Chopp at the helm. If Inslee nabs the Governor’s mansion it will leave the Senate as the last bastion of moderation. But that reputation hinges on a few key races.
Outcomes matter. After decades of opportunity to change K-12 education, Rosemary McAuliffe as chair of the Senate Education Committee has failed to get results. She has stood lockstep with the entrenched WEA and has blocked serious education reform. In contrast Dawn McCravey offers a more thoughtful approach, has broad experience from the community level in education, and a true desire to see more than 65% of Washington’s students graduate from high school, as is the case today. Go Dawn!
Sen. Randi Becker is seeking her second term representing the 2nd Legislative District, which stretches from Eatonville to Lacey. She has proven to be an outstanding legislator, particularly in the health care arena, willing to lead in a bi-partisan manner even when her caucus had doubts, but also willing to stand firm in tough partisan fights when she believes it is in the best interest of her district and the state. In this time of growing polarization in politics, we need more leaders like her who do their homework and can work with both parties. Re-elect Becker.
Please send Senator Haugen back to Olympia. Mary Margaret Haugen has the experience and grit to handle the massive transportation unions, contractors and bureaucrats that inhabit this somewhat removed and huge chunk of state operations. It’s a world of ferries, buses, roads, tolls, and tunnels, with multi-year, multi-billion dollar investments on the line. Bailey has been a hard working House member and would do well in the Senate, but she does not fill the gaping need for someone like Haugen in the critical area of transportation. Right now we cannot remove the bulldog from the dogfight known as the state “transpo” cabal.
The Senate is lacking in characters these days and is filling up with issue driven ideologues that haven’t seen both sides of the Cascades, and worse, don’t respect them. In the current climate there is something to admire about the independent, moody, and often bombastic Don Benton. We all have a good story about Senator Benton, and it’s a story we are glad to have. Probst would be a shiny newcomer to the Senate and is a hard worker. But despite his moderate positioning, he’s a bit of a fall-in-line Democrat. The House culture of living under the thumb of leadership is not a model for good governance, and should not infect the Senate. Let’s give Benton another term.
This is the easiest endorsement we’ve had to make. Steve Litzow has earned his seat in the Senate. Litzow is part of new group of smart, socially progressive, fiscally conservative suburban Republicans who are articulating a new vision for their party. Many observers agree that it’s the platform that will win in Washington. And that explains why partisan Democrats are so quick to attack. Don’t be fooled, Litzow is the real deal, and we need him and more like him in Olympia.