EDWARD Barton, a first-time candidate for office, displays the intellect and moderation to be a strong lawmaker from the 1st Legislative District, which straddles the King-Snohomish line. He is the better option for voters over the incumbent, state Rep. Luis Moscoso, D-Mountlake Terrace.

Barton, a Republican from Bothell, easily meets the test to be a credible candidate. He has a strong business and civic résumé, as co-owner of Glass Doctor and president of a Web-services firm, and a former member of the Mill Creek planning commission.

If elected, he would represent a new breed of suburban King County Republicans. He blends socially liberal and fiscally conservative views, and indicates a willingness to buck national party dogma on such issues as climate change.

On the critical issue of education, Barton is rightly skeptical of the state Supreme Court’s heavy-handed education-funding mandate, but advocates for additional funding through the so-called levy swap proposal, which has been advanced by some key House Democrats.

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To win, he’ll have to lose his stated aversion to soliciting campaign contributions.

Barton has some knowledge gaps in public policy, and his otherwise principled local-control approach to governance becomes muddled on gun control, which he would defer to the federal government.

But his independence contrasts with Moscoso, a two-term Democrat, who indicated he defers to House Democratic leadership on key education funding — the most fundamental issue facing the Legislature. Every elected official needs to be en pointe. Moscoso, a former Community Transit bus driver, has shown leadership in transportation issues, including forming a bipartisan “rail caucus.” A third candidate, Democrat David Griffin, lost to Moscoso in 2010.

Barton shows the most promise to be a strong, pragramatic and independent lawmaker. He is the best choice for the 1st Legislative District, Position 2.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Lance Dickie, Jonathan Martin, Erik Smith, Thanh Tan, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).