State Rep. Judy Clibborn’s experience and bipartisan leadership are needed in Olympia now more than ever. Voters in the Eastside’s 41st Legislative District should re-elect her.

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EASTSIDE residents are rightly frustrated with the state of Washington for transportation missteps, such as the botched tolling on Interstate 405.

This is fueling challenges for state Rep. Judy Clibborn’s seat. Clibborn is a Mercer Island Democrat and chair of the House Transportation Committee.

Yet Clibborn remains the clear choice for voters in the 41st Legislative District for Position No. 2. The district extends from Mercer Island to Bellevue, Newcastle and the Sammamish Plateau.

Since first elected to the House in 2002, Clibborn, a former Mercer Island mayor, has become one of the Legislature’s most influential members and a major force in transportation policy.

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Judy Clibborn

Judy Clibborn

41st Legislative District, House Position No. 2

Strengths: Influential and a major force in transportation policy

With the next Legislature facing an enormous challenge to modify taxation, fully fund education and avoid a constitutional crisis, Clibborn’s leadership and deep relationships on both sides of the aisle are vital. ..."

A high point came last year with the passage of a $16 billion transportation package that, among other things, will complete the Highway 520 bridge and widen I-405 from Renton to Bellevue. To get this done, Clibborn worked closely with both Republicans and Democrats, overcoming a political logjam that for years had blocked progress on road spending.

With the next Legislature facing an enormous challenge to modify taxation, fully fund education and avoid a constitutional crisis, Clibborn’s leadership and deep relationships on both sides of the aisle are vital. Her proven ability to address big problems and find bipartisan solutions should outweigh the impulse to throw out incumbents because “mobility” is worse for many residents.

Still, it’s good that challengers are pressing Clibborn on this topic. Other candidates include Democrat Bill Popp Sr. — a transportation consultant who opposes tolls as inequitable — and retired financial adviser Michael Appleby, a Republican who wants to restore free carpool lanes for vehicles with two or more passengers. Libertarian Angel Jordan is also running.

On I-405 tolling, Clibborn said the Department of Transportation executed poorly and the Legislature “should have been able to explain it better.” Yet she continues to support the overall concept of using tolling to manage traffic.

This year’s election is an opportunity for constituents to challenge Clibborn on such issues. But given the enormous to-do list, they need her in Olympia more than ever before.