AFTER 20 years in elected office, Democrat Frank Chopp remains a relevant and effective representative of the 43rd Legislative District in Position 2.
In the Nov. 4 election, the longest-serving speaker of the house in state history faces a vocal opponent, socialist Jess Spear.
Spear is passionate. But passion does not equate to good policy.
Where Chopp brokers deals, Spear clings to ideology.
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The climate scientist repeats slogans reminiscent of Kshama Sawant’s campaign rhetoric leading up to her election to the Seattle City Council.
Seattle’s agenda is not the agenda for the entire state.
Spear promises to tax the “super wealthy,” which she defines as anyone who earns more than $1 million a year, and to challenge Boeing on its tax exemptions. Good luck accomplishing those goals with a coalition — of one. Spear has not indicated she would caucus with either party if elected; she says she would work with those who espouse her views.
Her insistence that Chopp represents millionaires and corporations belittles Chopp’s four-decade history of championing causes and improving conditions for the homeless, the poor, the uninsured and those who suffer from mental illness.
Spear, who wants to fight for rent control and public housing, is running against someone with a long legislative record of creating and funding affordable housing in Seattle and the state.
One issue where neither of these two community activists gets a pass is in their support for Initiative 1351, a ballot measure from the teachers union that would require the state to build more classrooms and hire more teachers at an estimated cost of $3.8 billion every two years. Neither candidate knows how to pay for this, and it piles on to the court-ordered McCleary mandate on legislators to find billions more by 2018 to fund basic education.
As leader of the House of Representatives, Chopp should know better. He must stand up to the teachers union on this one and be a voice of reason for the taxpayers of Washington.
Spear’s declarations that she will make others see her side might work within the 43rd District’s limits. But if voters want to get things done, stick with the incumbent.
Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Jonathan Martin, Erik Smith, Thanh Tan, Robert J. Vickers, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).