REPUBLICAN state Sen. Mike Carrell of Lakewood leaves a commendable record of legislative achievement.
Carrell’s success was grounded in hard work, preparation and an exemplary approach to his political duties. He did indeed work well with others.
The senator’s death Wednesday at age 69 from complications of a blood disorder stirred tributes across the political spectrum.
Carrell was a conservative Republican, but his views, values and style were all about serving the state, not a particular political dogma.
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He embraced good ideas and political pragmatism. His colleagues on both sides of the aisle recognized his interest in the pursuit of outcomes, not headlines or talking points.
In the aftermath of the 2009 murder of four Lakewood police officers, Carrell helped lead efforts to tighten state laws for bail procedures. He worked for improvements in the mental-health and criminal-justice systems, to make it easier for those in of distress to get help.
He looked out for those the system was failing. He passed laws to hold schools accountable for following up on and help truant students. The same concern for victims showed up in anti-sex-trafficking laws.
From changes in the criminal-justice system to legislation on behalf of foster children and homeless-youth shelters, Carrell worked with community advocates and in bipartisan legislative efforts to improve the lives of vulnerable people.
Carrell worked to reduce fraudulent activity in public-assistance programs, including the use of electronic benefit cards. He ensured taxpayer-supported help was a credible tool for those in need.
A retired teacher, he was drawn to complex topics. His efforts went to the heart of tensions between government and the governed.
Carrell represented his Pierce County constituents with an effective and influential political style that blended pragmatism, compromise and an instinct to make government work for all citizens.
His colleagues saw those qualities, respected them and worked with him to make progress.