Little Green Man

Republican Dave Reichert proves a little environmentalism goes a long way with voters.

Republican Dave Reichert reminded the Democrats last week that he’s a formidable opponent–not because he’s a giant of the GOP, but because he’s the very definition of moderate, just like the district he represents.

The League of Conservation Voters came out with its annual scorecard, tallying the past year’s environmental votes by members of Congress. Reichert earned a 64 out of 100, having broken with his party on eight of 13 votes. In addition to backing a cap on carbon emissions, Reichert said “yea” to making school buildings greener and establishing conservation programs for rare felines like lions, leopards, and jaguars.

So where does that leave Democrats looking to unseat the guy? Probably up a federally protected river.

Political success east of Lake Washington requires convincing large swaths of both major parties to vote for you, something Reichert’s figured out. Swings to the green have peppered his career. In 2005 he co-sponsored a bill to designate part of this state untouchable wilderness, following that with a vote against drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

But Reichert remains a staunch fiscal conservative. He opposed the Democrats’ budget and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka the stimulus package), both of which included money for environmental projects. That knocked down his LCV score—which is probably a good thing.

If winning on the Eastside is all about dressing up conservative policies with a little responsible environmentalism, Reichert’s score last week proved that he’s a master of it.

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