This election is the most important in 30 years. Do we exaggerate? Consider the following: President George W. Bush is fighting a foreign war that is not only bloody but is making the world more dangerous and politically unstable; Bush's domestic agenda is on its way to destroying the last remains of our social safety net—watch out, Medicare and Social Security—while creating more poverty and inequality, and his economic policies are piling up deficits that will make it more difficult to address our country's problems long into the future. President Richard Nixon was more vindictive and shrewd than Dubya and was waging a war with more U.S. casualties that worsened the Cold War, but he at least faced nominal opposition from a Democratic Congress and even had a few good ideas in terms of domestic policy. President Ronald Reagan enjoyed greater public support for his dismantling of human services funding, his military buildup, and his tax cuts, but he only fought nasty proxy wars in Central America rather than a full foreign invasion by the U.S. in the Middle East. The Bush agenda also poses a direct threat in Washington state, where his acolytes want to strengthen his hand. George Nethercutt wants to give Bush a filibuster- proof majority in the U.S. Senate, and Dino Rossi wants to take the Bush domestic agenda into the Washington governor's mansion.
• We endorse Kerry, Murray, Ross, Gregoire, Senn, Billings, charter schools, Hanford clean-up, monorail recall ... MORE | Download our clip-and-vote cheat sheet
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• Curse the Electoral College. By Geov Parrish MORE
Voting, especially during wartime, is a defensive act, so strap on your helmet and head to the polls. Once you are there, you will find good Democrats like gubernatorial candidate Christine Gregoire and good Republicans like Secretary of State Sam Reed, as well as important policy decisions like stopping the spread of gambling, nuclear waste, and bad monorails that will make you glad you were scared enough to cast your ballot.
With a heady combination of illegitimacy, irresponsibility, and hubris, the presidency of George W. Bush ranks as the worst of modern times. His administration offers none of the benefits of conservatism, liberalism, or moderation. Indeed, he has crafted a regime based on fear, profligacy, and lies. His foreign policy is jeopardizing our security and draining the treasury; his deficit spending is bankrupting our future. He and his shadow—Vice President Dick Cheney—seem incapable of telling the truth or, indeed, ever caring to know the truth. The accusations the Republican incumbents make against their Democratic opponents, John Kerry and John Edwards, are an almost laughable case of what psychologists describe as projection. Lying, flip-flopping, and cowardice are Bush hallmarks, not Kerry ones. Indeed, in this election, voters have an option better than picking between the lesser of two evils. While a Kerry presidency would surely be imperfect—and certainly unenviable for having to deal with the realities of terrorism, the Bush budget mess, and the quagmire in Iraq—it would return the presidency to a wiser, steadier, battle-tested man who could lead America back to its true self. Also on the ballot for president in Washington are Michael Badnarik, Libertarian Party; John Parker, Workers World Party; David Cobb, Green Party; James Harris, Socialist Workers Party; Michael Peroutka, Constitution Party; Bill Van Anken, Socialist Equality Party; and independent megalomaniac Ralph Nader, any of whom would also be better than Bush. But vote for Kerry.
Democratic incumbent Patty Murray looks better with each passing day. As the body count rises, the chaos increases, and the threat of terrorism escalates, the decision to go to war in Iraq looks worse and worse. Murray showed real political courage and tremendous strategic judgment when she voted against Bush's war resolution on Iraq. In addition, Murray is a consistent, energetic advocate for Washington state in the Senate. Her work will be vital as we move into the next phase of funding for the replacement of Puget Sound's fragile transportation infrastructure, like the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
Her Republican opponent, Spokane's U.S. Rep. George Nethercutt, has been a terrible disappointment. After failing to establish any compelling reason for his own campaign, the term-limited promise breaker started running ads linking Murray to Osama bin Laden that are an example of political campaigning at its sleaziest. The Green Party's Mark Wilson and Libertarian J. Mills are also in the race.
U.S REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 1 (NORTH KING, SOUTH SNOHOMISH COUNTies)
Jay Inslee, the incumbent Democrat, faces only nominal opposition in this race, because he is doing a terrific job promoting ideas like the Apollo project that would promote energy independence and create jobs by supporting alternative technology. Republican Randy Eastwood and Libertarian Charles Moore are the other, lesser candidates.
U.S REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT 7 (SEATTLE)
Liberal cities like Seattle need political representatives like Jim McDermott who do great, risky stuff like go to Baghdad and denounce the president's rush to war. Let American conservatives hate him—we look forward to voting him into office for another two years. Carol Cassady, who is running her second disappearing act for this position, is the GOP's nominee.
U.S REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 8 (EAST KING, EAST PIERCE COUNTies)
In this open-seat race, a couple of men who are great successes in their respective fields are having a bumpy transition into political life. Democrat and former KIRO-AM radio host Dave Ross is our pick, not only because he displays the kind of independence and common sense that is all too lacking in American political life but because he understands that Bush's Iraq war is a disaster (Ross has seen it firsthand) and that our nation's fiscal future should not be ruined by Bush's absurd tax cuts for the rich. His opponent, Republican Sheriff Dave Reichert, has a great résumé in law enforcement but in this campaign has lost his identity to a roar of GOP right-wing rhetoric. He has even gone so far as to oppose the renewal of the ban on assault weapons. As a man who has faced down a gun, he should know better. Libertarian Spencer Garrett is the other candidate in the race.
U.S REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 9 (PARTS OF KING, PIERCE, AND THURSTON COUNTIES)
A passionate, hard-charging Democrat, Adam Smith is a true centrist with hawkish positions on defense and the deficit that fit this district so well, he has no true challengers. Green Robert Losey and Republican Paul Lord are taking up their respective spaces on the ballot.
Democrat Christine Gregoire is a force of nature. She combines moderate mainstream views with the energy and the charisma to get things done. If elected, her positions may not (sadly) be all that much different than those of the current incrementalist incumbent, Gov. Gary Locke, but she will more likely shake up Olympia because she will be a dynamo at engaging legislators and citizens alike. She understands that Washingtonians are deeply troubled about the economy, health care, education, and the environment. She will formulate centrist proposals to address these issues and make sure the Legislature acts on them. Gregoire can lead and is our easy pick for governor.
Republican Dino Rossi has tremendous personal skills and also knows how to get things done in Olympia. What he wants to do, however, is way too right wing, not only for liberal Seattle but also for the entire state. He is anti-abortion, very intolerant of gays and lesbians, opposed to working people's rights, in favor of corporate welfare, terrible on environmental protection—he's even in favor of teaching creationism in the public schools. Don't be fooled: Despite his charm, Rossi is way outside the mainstream. Libertarian Ruth Bennett is also seeking the office.
We're suspicious of anyone who wants to be lieutenant governor. That's why once again we pick a candidate who wants to abolish this do-nothing money-draining office, currently wasting $683,000 a year. Our choice is Jocelyn Langlois, vice chair of the state Libertarian party and president of a Kennewick engineering company, over Democratic incumbent Brad Owen, Republican Jim Wiest, and Green Bern Haggerty.
SECRETARY OF STATE
We say keep Sam Reed. Since the Republican was elected four years ago, he has doggedly pursued the public interest, even at the risk of his own political career. Reed fought the state's major political parties, including his own, to try to preserve the voters' beloved blanket primary. When the governor put the Washington State Library on the chopping block, Reed stepped up and fought to preserve this treasure trove of information, took it into his department, and found funding for it. While he was a little slow on the need for a paper record to accompany new electronic voting machines, he eventually did the right thing. He has declared that every electronic voting machine in Washington must have a paper record by 2006. We need Reed's steady, thoughtful leadership going forward.
Democratic challenger and former legislator Laura Ruderman is an engaging, energetic campaigner. She does not, however, have any experience running elections—Reed has worked in the field his entire adult life. We wished she'd stayed in the Legislature. Reed's other challenger is Libertarian Jacqueline Passey.
We see no reason to replace Democratic incumbent Mike Murphy with either Republican Oscar Lewis or Libertarian John Sample.
The competent and accessible incumbent, Democrat Brian Sonntag,deserves to be returned to office. His opponents are Libertarian Jason Bush and Republican Will Baker.
We'd like to see what populist Democrat Deborah Senn can do in this office. We've already seen her relentlessly fight for ordinary folks on the issue of health care while she was a two-term state insurance commissioner. As attorney general, she'd have a broader slate, whether she works on Internet crime or predatory banking practices or as-yet-unknown issues. Whatever they are, you can bet she'll be sticking up for the little guy. And it's quite likely the ambitious Senn will seek the biggest impact through multistate lawsuits like the famed Big Tobacco case, with which current Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Christine Gregoire made her mark. Whether or not Senn's blunt tactics would prove effective is an open question, but we say let her try. Republican Rob McKenna, smart and articulate, is a worthy opponent. But he has a political agenda—for deregulation and tort reform, for example—we don't support. Green Party candidate Paul Richmond has, like us, given his support to Senn. Libertarian J. Bradley Gibson is also seeking election.
COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC LANDS
Republican incumbent Doug Sutherland just finished shepherding a 10- year plan through the Board of Natural Resources that would increase the timber harvest on state lands in Western Washington by 36 percent from the time he arrived in office. Obviously, Sutherland has the timber industry's strong support. Our nod goes to the environmentalists' candidate, Democrat Mike Cooper, a decades-long firefighter and four-term state representative. Cooper opposes a dramatic increase in the timber harvest and pledges to immediately ban old-growth logging on state lands. He favors green certification from eco-friendly third-party groups that monitor forest management. As someone who's been around environmental issues for a long time, currently chairing the House Fisheries, Ecology, and Parks Committee, Cooper would bring a credible conservationist voice to the job. Libertarian Steve Layman rounds out the ballot.
SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION
A onetime superintendent who wants to return to the office, Judith Billings would generate needed debate about where education reform is going in this state. Specifically, she raises questions about the suitability of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning, or WASL, as a graduation test. The way things currently stand, the majority of high schoolers won't get a diploma because they can't pass the WASL. Billings couldn't change that on her own, but she could prod the Legislature into rethinking what the WASL is intended to do and whether it's a fair and useful arbiter of a student's ability to go on in life. Incumbent Terry Bergeson deserves a lot of respect for her dedication but has lost perspective on the issue.
While no fiery crusader, Democratic incumbent Mike Kreidler gets high marks for nixing Premera Blue Cross' terrible plan to become a for-profit health insurer and should be returned to office. His opponents are Republican John Adams and Libertarian Stephen Steele.
STATE LEGISLATIVE OFFICES
SEATTLE LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS
STATE SENATOR, DISTRICT 11 (SEATTLE, TUKWILA, BURIEN)
Long a champion of children and civil rights, incumbent Democrat Margarita Prentice should be returned to Olympia, where she sits on the Senate's all-powerful Ways & Means Committee. She faces opposition from Bill Roenicke, a Republican, and Jennifer Christensen, a Libertarian.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 11 (SEATTLE, TUKWILA, BURIEN) POSITION 1
A conscientious representative for his district on jobs and transportation, first-term Democrat Zack Hudgins should be re-elected. Republican Elizabeth Harris opposes him.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 11 (SEATTLE, TUKWILA, BURIEN) POSITION 2
Bob Hasegawa, a political newcomer and former Teamsters Union reformer, eked out a narrow victory in last month's Democratic primary. The man is used to tough fights, having tangled for years with the old guard of the Teamsters. We expect to see Hasegawa leading the fight in the state capital on jobs for real people and social justice. His Republican opponent, Ruth Gibbs, is a perennial sacrificial lamb.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 34 (WEST SEATTLE, BURIEN, VASHON) POSITION 1
Democrat Eileen Cody, currently chair of the House Health Care Committee, has been a key player in attacking prescription cost increases and will be instrumental in shaping much-needed reforms to the state's mental-health care system next session. Voters should return her to office. She's opposed by Savun Neang, a Republican, and Bud Shasteen, a Libertarian who wants to legalize marijuana (maybe he should run for president).
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 34 (WEST SEATTLE, BURIEN, VASHON) POSITION 2
Joe McDermott is gay, he's out, he's a Democratic incumbent, he fights for civil rights and education. Oh, just vote for the guy. He's opposed by Paul Byrne, a Republican, and Virginia Abeyta, a Libertarian.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 36 (BALLARD, QUEEN ANNE, MAGNOLIA) POSITION 1
After surviving a bruising primary in which an angry union spent more than $200,000 trying to oust her, 32-year Democratic incumbent Helen Sommers should be vigorously supported by the voters. The House's chief budget writer, Sommers will return to Olympia with even more respect than usual—and she is one of the most widely respected members in the Legislature. She'll use this enhanced clout to push for her long-standing priorities, including sensible fiscal policy and smart investments in higher education. Her opponents are Floyd Loomis, a Republican, and John Palmer, a Libertarian.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 36 (BALLARD, QUEEN ANNE, MAGNOLIA) POSITION 2
Voters should return Democrat Mary Lou Dickerson, an advocate for children and families, to Olympia. Her opponent is Don Zeek, a Libertarian.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 37 (RAINIER VALLEY, MADRONA, SKYWAY) POSITION 1
Sharon Tomiko Santos is one of the brightest bulbs in the state capitol and throws off enough heat to take the chill off the old building. The Dems' House whip, she is committed to fixing transportation funding for the Seattle area and getting something done on tax reform. Her GOP opponent is Kwame Wyking Garrett.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 37 (RAINIER VALLEY, MADRONA, SKYWAY) POSITION 2
A first-term incumbent, Democrat Eric Pettigrew erased many of our former doubts with his passionate commitment to ensuring quality schooling for minority students. That alone is reason enough to send him back to Oly. Aaron Alberg is his Republican opponent.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 43 (CAPITOL HILL, U DIST., WALLINGFORD) POSITION 1
As the House Democrats' leader on transportation, Rep. Ed Murray has his work cut out for him as he tries to break through the state's highways-versus-transit gridlock. Voters should return Murray to Olympia, because if anyone is up to the task, he is. A gay pioneer in Olympia, Murray has earned respect from both sides of the aisle through his fair, thoughtful work, first on the capital budget and now on transportation. Zac Green is his GOP opponent.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 43 (CAPITOL HILL, U DIST., WALLINGFORD) POSITION 2
Frank Chopp, a committed Democrat, civil-rights/alms-to-the-poor type, is the speaker of the House. He deserves voters' backing as he tries to unite his caucus behind his terrific priorities that include giving health insurance coverage to all of Washington's uninsured children and passing laws that would force insurance companies to treat mental illness the same as physical illness. He's opposed by Mark Griswold, a Republican newcomer.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 46 (N. SEATTLE, WEDGWOOD, SAND POINT) POSITION 1
Incumbent Democrat Jim McIntire should be re-elected to continue his commendable efforts at much-needed tax reform. Green Chris LaRoche, Republican Brien Downie, and Libertarian Mack Barnette round out the ballot.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 46 (N. SEATTLE, WEDGWOOD, SAND POINT) POSITION 2
A four-term state representative, Democrat Phyllis Kenney supports increased education funding and expansion of the Washington Health Plan. Works for us. Her opponent is Gary Stute, a Libertarian.
EASTSIDE LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS
STATE SENATOR, DISTRICT 5 (ISSAQUAH, SAMMAMISH, MAPLE VALLEY)
Sen. Cheryl Pflug is the Republican incumbent, but our pick is the Democrat, Kathy Huckabay, currently mayor of the city of Sammamish, the burgeoning community outside Issaquah. Her involvement on the front lines of the changing and rapidly urbanizing suburbs will be an asset for the district in Olympia. Jaime Capili, a Libertarian, is also running.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 5 (ISSAQUAH, SAMMAMISH, MAPLE VALLEY) POSITION 1
Incumbent Jay Rodne, a Republican, was appointed to fill a vacancy. He's being challenged by our choice, Democrat Jeff Griffin, a local fire commissioner, a captain with the Port of Seattle Fire Department (at Sea-Tac Airport), and a small business owner with an extensive record of community service and useful frontline experience in public safety and homeland security. His endorsers include local grassroots environmentalists. Libertarian Keith Kemp is also running.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 5 (ISSAQUAH, SAMMAMISH, MAPLE VALLEY) POSITION 2
Democrat Barbara de Michele has extensive experience in community service, education (she was president of the Issaquah School Board and previously a teacher), and also transportation planning as a staffer for the King County Department of Transportation. This terrific background makes her extremely qualified to represent the district, and combined with her more progressive politics, she's our choice over Republican incumbent Glenn Anderson and Libertarian Beau Gunderson.
STATE SENATOR, DISTRICT 41 (MERCER ISLAND, BELLEVUE, RENTON)
Republican incumbent Jim Horn is an old-style retired Boeing engineer whose main issue is transportation. This guy just won't let go—of bad ideas, like widening state Route 520 to eight lanes, or pet project highway I-605, a hoped-for, sprawl-driving freeway that would run from Canada to the Columbia River through the Cascade foothills. Pave the Snoqualmie Valley? Yeah, gotta move that freight. Just a stupid pipe dream? This guy is chair of the Senate Transportation and Highways Committee! A conservative set in concrete, it's time for someone new. Our pick is Democrat Brian Weinstein, a fresh-faced attorney, an environmentalist, and someone with a more balanced view of the district's priorities. Libertarian Jim Brown is also running.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 41 (MERCER ISLAND, BELLEVUE, RENTON) POSITION 1
Some call incumbent Republican Rep. Fred Jarrett a RINO—Republican in Name Only. Which is true enough nowadays. The former Mercer Island mayor is a throwback to the civic paragons of the Dan Evans era, when the local GOP was teeming with reformers, regionally minded mainstreamers, progressives, and greens. Jarrett is a longtime Boeing fiscal analyst with extensive public service experience and should be returned to the Legislature. How many other Republicans these days get the nod from the Sierra Club? His opponents are newcomer Democrat Lance Ramsay and Libertarian George Holt.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 41 (MERCER ISLAND, BELLEVUE, RENTON) POSITION 2
It was a bit of a shock when the district elected Rep. Judy Clibborn, a Democrat, to the Legislature in this once solidly Republican district, but the pendulum is swinging the Democrats' way. Nevertheless, suburban Dems are expected to be practical, pro-business, and comparatively nonpartisan, and Clibborn fits the bill. She's a former Mercer Island mayor and head of the Rock's Chamber of Commerce. Plus, she's not afraid to solve problems by voting to raise revenues, as her support of a higher gas tax for transportation shows. Her opponent is Island Republican Fawn Spady, who has fought for charter schools and whose family runs the incomparable Dick's Drive-In chain. But our political tastes do not match our fast-food tastes. She's too conservative, given the competition, so we support Clibborn. Brian Reilly, a Libertarian, is also running.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 45 (KIRKLAND, REDMOND, WOODINVILLE) POSITION 1
Yes, it surprises us, too, that we're endorsing a Republican with this surname, but incumbent Toby Nixon is our pick over a political rookie and self-described "stealth" candidate, Democrat Robert Adair. Nixon is a mainstream conservative, but greener than most (one of the relatively few local GOPers endorsed by Washington Conservation Voters). As a "Web services diplomat" at Microsoft, he's also tech-savvy, which can only help his high-tech district in the Luddite Legislature. His experience makes the difference here.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 45 (KIRKLAND, REDMOND, WOODINVILLE) POSITION 2
Our pick is Kirkland City Council member, former mayor, wine shop owner, and Democrat Larry Springer, who has helped run, preserve, and keep vital one of Seattle's most livable suburbs. With his small-business background, experience in regional issues like growth, and generally progressive politics, he's much better than the alternative, Republican Duvall City Council member Geoffrey Possinger, who narrowly won the primary by out-right-winging his opponent. Libertarian Miles Holden is also running.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 48 (BELLEVUE, KIRKLAND, REDMOND) POSITION 1
Republican James Whitfield, a Kirkland African American with a background in health care, is a promising GOP up-and-comer, but Democratic incumbent Ross Hunter has already, well, up and come. A retired Microsoft program manager, Hunter shocked the experts by winning a seat in this traditionally Republican district. A self-described fiscal conservative and social liberal, Hunter is also extremely energetic at attacking big problems— education, the state budget—in a sane, practical, goal-oriented, bipartisan way. He gets our vote.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 48 (BELLEVUE, KIRKLAND, REDMOND), POSITION 2
Rodney Tom, the GOP incumbent, is more moderate than many Rs in Olympia, especially on the environment, but we're picking newcomer Debi Golden, the Democrat. With her background as a teacher, PTSA president, and instructional designer, she has a strong commitment to improving education through finding the money to improve our schools.
NORTHERN SUBURBAN DISTRICTS
STATE SENATOR, DISTRICT 1 (BOTHELL, SOUTH SNOHOMISH COUNTY)
Twelve-year Democratic incumbent Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe has a strong focus on education, having previously served 14 years on the Northshore School Board. As the ranking minority member of the Senate Education Committee, she's acquired a reputation for being able to work across the aisle with Republicans; she would undoubtedly continue to work hard to support public education. Her opponent, Republican Jason Bontrager, is a real-estate investor and land developer with no previous political experience.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 1 (BOTHELL, SOUTH SNOHOMISH COUNTY) POSITION 1
This is a race between cops: Democrat Rep. Al O'Brien, a former Seattle policeman and Mountlake Terrace City Council member, facing a challenge from Republican Jeff Merrill, a Washington State Patrol trooper and a Bothell City Council member and former mayor. Not surprisingly, both are running on law and order, but the clear differences give the edge to the incumbent: O'Brien supports alternatives to prison for some nonviolent drug offenders and has also focused on seeking a solution to the problems facing mentally ill offenders in the jail system. Libertarian Terry Bartlett Buholm is also running.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 1 (BOTHELL, SOUTH SNOHOMISH COUNTY) POSITION 2
Recently retired as Bothell's chief of police after a 30-year career in law enforcement, Democrat Mark Ericks narrowly gets our endorsement in this open-seat race. Ericks' opponent, Republican Joshua Freed, a family and marriage counselor, is a promising young activist. Ericks' experience and deep roots in the community win him our nod over the 31-year-old Freed.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 21 (EDMONDS), POSITION 1
In this key open seat, the least colorful but most qualified candidate is Democrat Mary Helen Roberts. Roberts has served as, among other things, a budget analyst for the House Appropriations Committee, a policy analyst for Planned Parenthood, and as executive director of the Washington State Women's Council. By contrast, Republican Roger S. "Cowboy" Wilson is a 77-year-old former teacher, roughneck, pilot, commercial fisherman, and railroad worker. That working-class background probably makes him a great storyteller—but that alone isn't qualification for Olympia. Libertarian Stephen Cornell is also on the ballot.
SOUTH COUNTY SUBURBAN DISTRICTS
STATE SENATOR, DISTRICT 25 (PUYALLUP, FIFE, NORTH PIERCE COUNTY)
We endorse incumbent Democratic Sen. Jim Kastama who is facing a fierce challenge from Republican Rose Hill, a council member and former mayor in Edgewood. Kastama is calling for performance audits for state agencies and a re-examination of corporate tax breaks in the state budget. Hill also has an audit proposal: She wants to audit state regulatory agencies to determine whether they're helping or hindering business. And here we thought regulatory agencies were supposed to, you know, regulate.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 25 (PUYALLUP, FIFE, NORTH PIERCE COUNTY), POSITION 1
Republican Rep. Joyce McDonald is facing a strong challenge from local Democratic doctor Ron Morris. He brings a strong focus and commitment to health care, particularly affordability and access to care, including preventive care, for all Washington residents. Morris deserves voters' support because he would bring a clear, experienced voice to a topic the Legislature has tended to punt on in recent years.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 25 (PUYALLUP, FIFE, NORTH PIERCE), POSITION 2
This district's other seat already has a health care advocate: Democratic Rep. Dawn Morrell, a nurse who drew attention in her first term last session for sponsoring a labor-friendly bill to help home health care workers. Morrell wins our vote for having worked well on health care, education, transportation, and business development. Republican Michele Smith opposes her.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 30 (FEDERAL WAY, SOUTH KING COUNTY), POSITION 1
Democratic Rep. Mark Miloscia, a former Air Force pilot and teacher, gets credit for political courage: Unlike Gov. Locke, he's willing to look at tax increases as a way to help address the state's chronic budget shortfall. Republican Tony Moore, a graduate of Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, and Libertarian Robert Brengman oppose him.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 30 (FEDERAL WAY, SOUTH KING COUNTY) POSITION 2
Republican incumbent Rep. Skip Priest gets our nod over his Democratic challenger, Joe Henry. The Muni League rates Priest, a former Federal Way City Council member and mayor, "outstanding"; he's picked up a wide swath of endorsements and pledges, unlike many Republicans, to focus on the environment as well as education and the business climate. Henry, a middle-school teacher, just doesn't compare. Libertarian Jonathan Wright is also in this race.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 47 (AUBURN, COVINGTON), POSITION 1
Democratic Rep. Geoff Simpson has done a fine job and deserves a return to Olympia. Simpson's focus is on education, prescription drug costs, the creation of a fairer tax system for the middle class and poor, and holding corporations accountable for their tax breaks. He is opposed by Steve Altick, a Christian camp operator retired from the Air Force who wants businesses to be "free to operate," and Libertarian Duane Grindstaff.
STATE REPRESENTATIVE, DISTRICT 47 (AUBURN, COVINGTON), POSITION 2
Republican Rep. Jack Cairnes is endorsed by Boeing; he should be, after all the work he's done in the Legislature on its behalf. But our vote goes to his Democratic challenger, Pat Sullivan, a staff person for the King County Council and a former mayor and city council member in Covington. Sullivan promises to focus on education, particularly class size, and would tackle the budget with performance audits and an examination of corporate tax breaks. If he gets the chance, he'll find a lot of his predecessor's handiwork in evidence. Libertarian Kelly Guthridge is also in the race.
STATE SUPREME COURT
STATE SUPREME COURT, POSITION 1
We endorse Mary Kay Becker to fill the seat vacated by the retiring Faith Ireland. Becker, a former state legislator, has earned our vote with her 10-year record as a Washington State Court of Appeals judge. Her opponent is the passionate Olympia attorney Jim Johnson, known for his vigorous defense of the state's beloved blanket primary and his support from conservative groups.
STATE SUPREME COURT, POSITION 6
In a recent landmark public records case, only Richard Sanders came down hard on the side of exposing government documents to more sunlight. That's typical of the maverick libertarian, who seems to like the water deeper and hotter. He's a crusading jurist who loves liberty and opposes government overreach at every turn. He is the kind of judge that challenges and energizes the legal process. His opponent is former judge and gubernatorial legal adviser Terry Sebring.
KING COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT
KING COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT POSITION 23
With her experience and highly qualified ratings from bar associations, Julia Garratt deserves election to the bench. She's a county judge pro-tem and member of the state parole board whose résumé includes work as a prosecutor and defender: She has seen the law from all sides. Garratt has a worthy opponent in Andrea Darvas, a local trial lawyer who is a defender of the little guy. Garratt's breadth of experience gives her the edge.
KING COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT POSITION 42
Our choice is Chris Washington, whose endorsers include Gov. Locke and former U.S. Attorney Mike McKay. Washington's extensive résumé, which includes stints as a trial attorney, a judge pro-tem, and a King County deputy prosecutor, gives him the range necessary to be a terrific judge. His opponent is Catherine Moore, a part-time family law court commissioner and a former tribal court judge, who would also be a solid jurist.
STATEWIDE BALLOT MEASURES
Clean up Hanford Nuclear Reservation
This measure would require cleanup and proper storage of most types of noncommercial radioactive waste at the federal Hanford Nuclear Reservation before more is brought into the state. It would change state law to direct the Department of Ecology to impose storage and safety standards on the federal Department of Energy—a right that proponents say the state doesn't effectively exercise. This is a complicated measure, necessarily so, and it's not likely the federal government would comply without a legal fight. But it would codify what the state has a right to do, which is exert some control over all the nasty stuff that has been accumulating (and leaking) haphazardly at Hanford since World War II. Opponents disagree, and not surprisingly: They include the nuclear-industrial complex of the Tri-Cities of Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco, and its employees—the creators of the mess we need to clean up. Vote yes.
Establish the "top-two" primary
I-872 would create another new primary-election system, the so-called Louisiana-style "top-two" primary that would advance the top two primary vote getters to the general election, regardless of party. It sounds good, but we're saying vote no on this initiative. We hate the fact that the current, new primary requires us to choose candidates from a single party. In fact, if that's the way it's going to be, then the parties ought to pay for their own damned primaries. But what we hate about the proposed "top-two" system is that it would further marginalize minor parties, whose slates wouldn't even appear on the general- election ballot in November—the election, we might remind you, that counts. The Democrats and Republicans don't like I-872 because it could shut one or the other of them out of the general election in some races, with two candidates from only one party advancing. But we think this initiative would, in fact, strengthen the bipartisan stranglehold on state government by effectively excluding candidates who are not Republicans or Democrats. Here's a thought: How about we abolish the legally enabled two-party system altogether and be done with the bipartisan holy war? Thousands of nonpartisan city councils can't be wrong.
Increase the sales tax; fund education
There are two major problems with this measure, which would increase the state sales tax from 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent, raising it in some local jurisdictions, including Seattle, to nearly 10 percent. First, the sales tax is a regressive tax, meaning those who are least well-off devote a disproportionate share of their assets to funding education. Second, the measure is unwieldy. At first blush, raising $1 billion a year for preschool, K-12, and higher education by simply charging an extra round penny for every dollar of commerce and putting it in a trust fund seems like a no-brainer. Many of the benefits of this tax are clearly justified: giving teachers a raise they were promised then denied, reducing class sizes, getting more disadvantaged kids into early learning programs, creating 25,000 more slots at state universities, and providing more financial aid, among other things. But the fine print troubles us. For example, I-884 would raise hundreds of millions of dollars over a period of years for "high priority research" at state universities. But no one can tell us what this means or who will allocate it. A board of 11, appointed by the governor, would govern the entire trust fund, essentially bypassing our elected representatives in the state Legislature and the superintendent of public instruction, who have jurisdiction over education. This new board is tasked with detailed oversight and reporting, and the result will be, essentially, another state agency. This measure raises revenue unfairly and complicates education funding. There has to be a better way. Vote no.
Expand gambling; cut taxes
This is an odious proposal that would allow what for all intents and purposes are slot machines in existing non-Indian gambling establishments. A small part of the revenue these machines raise would be used to offset property taxes. Proponents say it's only fair that non-Indian casinos offer the same popular games their Native American brothers and sisters have in their casinos. But unfairness is the whole point. Indians have exclusive rights to offer gambling on their reservations because of generations of horrific injustice. Gambling revenue is sending their kids to college. Let's not take that away from them. Besides, do we really want the state to be more dependent on gambling revenues? Vote no.
Create charter schools
Approval of this referendum would allow the establishment of up to 45 charter schools over six years. Charter schools would be publicly funded but managed separately from the public school district in which they reside, unhampered by the bureaucratic baggage of the public school system. Their purpose is to teach kids in new ways and offer public school parents more choice. Opponents say charter schools will suck money from public school districts and have performed poorly elsewhere. But there also are successes elsewhere, and unlike vouchers, charters keep funds and students within the public system. We think this modest experiment is worth trying in Washington. Vote yes.
King County BALLOT MEASURES
KING COUNTY CHARTER AMENDMENTS 1A AND 1B
Reduce the King County Council from 13 members to nine
We recommend you vote no on Question 1 because it would reduce the political representation of all of King County's residents, to little or no benefit. A second question asks how soon such a reduction should take place, should Question 1 prevail. We recommend you vote for 1b, because it has a longer, more reasonable time line to accomplish the complicated process of redistricting the entire county.
KING COUNTY ADVISORY MEASURE No. 1
Locally funded transportation plan
Do we want to vote on a proposal next year? Maybe, maybe not. Why do they ask? Why is this question on the ballot? Vote no to protest this ridiculous question.
KING COUNTY ADVISORY MEASURE No. 2 Tax source to support a locally funded transportation plan
Here we are asked to choose our preferred method of transportation funding. Again, it's a ridiculous question. As the sponsors of this measure know: None of these taxes by itself is sufficient to actually fund meaningful transportation improvements. And no one's going to approve a tax increase without seeing what they're buying. If you must choose, however, we think the best available revenue source offered here is an increase in the local gas tax.
SEATTLE BALLOT MEASURE
If passed, I-83 would essentially monkey wrench and perhaps kill the Seattle Monorail Project—unless or until we the people, or the City Council, have a change of heart and reverse this ban in the future. (See "Monorail Q&A,") But from the very beginning, this monorail project has presented itself as the people's alternative to clumsy megaprojects like Sound Transit and asked for voters' approval and oversight every step of the way. Now that we know much more about the plan, we recommend you vote yes, not because monorail is a bad idea, but because there is every indication that the project is off track and will fall short of what voters intended when they approved it in 2002. A yes vote, we think, could either prevent a flawed plan from sinking us further into a transportation money pit or, at the very least, return some leverage to the skeptics to ensure that a better plan is developed and put forward before any bonds are sold. Of course, without being able to see the final, single bid to design, build, operate, and maintain the system, we're flying a little blind. But what we've seen so far—a scaled-back project, questionable routing decisions, unknown operating costs, and a lack of details of how the built-out system would work and what it would cost—makes us cautious. Indeed, we weren't on board with the original vote, and nothing we've seen has convinced us this is a better project today than it was when we voted on it two years ago.