FOR the open state House seat in the 31st District, Republican Drew Stokesbary of Auburn is the candidate most likely to be a voice for fiscal responsibility. The incumbent, Cathy Dahlquist, is vacating the seat to run for state Senate.

Stokesbary is an attorney who works as an aide to Metropolitan King County Council member Pete von Reichbauer. Stokesbary demonstrates a deep knowledge of the issues that will come before the Legislature, and he takes a pragmatic view — crucial if deals are to be struck and gridlock avoided.

For instance, Stokesbary says he will support a transportation package to relieve the state’s congested highways, but will fight for reforms to ensure the money is well spent. He takes a sensible position on K-12 spending, saying schools should get the lion’s share of new tax revenue, and would consider tax hikes only after other sources are exhausted. He sides with the GOP leaders who advanced the Dream Act to the floor over internal opposition.

Stokesbary’s consistent positions offer a contrast with Democrat Mike Sando, who appears conflicted. A schoolteacher and a member of the Enumclaw City Council, Sando draws inspiration and financial support from the Legislature’s moderate-Democrat faction. Yet as a local teachers’ union president, he supports the Washington Education Association’s budget-busting Initiative 1351, and he cannot suggest where to find the necessary billions.

In contrast, Stokesbary deplores the measure and embraces education-reform measures. A third candidate in the race, Democrat Jonathon Dunn, grew up as a foster child and says he would advocate for foster care. He is a promising future candidate who needs more civic experience.

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).