A dental hygienist with no elective experience and one-eighth the money as her twice-elected opponent has long odds to be elected to an open seat in the Washington State Senate. Even so, The Times recommends Republican Kristin Thompson for the open senate seat in the 11th District (Tukwila, Renton).
She has a much more realistic sense of what state government must do in a financially restricted era than her opponent, state Rep. Bob Hasegawa, D-Seattle.
In our editorials on the Legislature, The Times has called for a “reset” so that government can live within its means. We have argued that education — all education, from age 3 to 23 — should be budgeted first.
For the rest of government, such a stand implies strong cost-saving reforms. In the past two years, The Times championed five such reforms that passed: cash-outs in workers’ compensation claims (EHB 2123), reducing early-retirement subsidies in state employee pensions (2ESB 6378), repeal of Initiative 728 (HB 2824), consolidation of school employee health care (ESSB 5940) and a lower state debt limit (ESJR 8221).
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Several of these were watered down, and more needs to be done. But these five were essential toward putting the state in better financial stead.
Hasegawa, a former Teamsters official, is a defender of the status quo in government. He is not for giving priority to education; he wants to pass a progressive income tax and save the social programs and exceptional richness of state employee benefits as well.
He opposed all five cost-saving reform bills. Many Democrats were against two, three or four of them, but only a handful opposed all five. (The others in the House were Zack Hudgins, D-Tukwila, and Timm Ormsby, D-Spokane; in the Senate, Steve Conway, D-Tacoma, Maralyn Chase, D-Shoreline, Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, and Kevin Ranker, D-San Juan Island.)
The Times still supports Hudgins, Hasegawa’s 11th District seatmate, to retain his seat in the House. Under the top-two system, Hudgins’ opponent is an even more leftward Democrat, who berates Hudgins for not pushing harder for a state income tax.
For the district’s state representative Position 2, The Times recommends Steve Bergquist.The Democrat lives in Renton, teaches social studies at Linbergh High School and owns a tennis shop. He would bring a working teacher’s voice to the state Legislature, which needs to make education its top priority in the coming session. While he is a newcomer, he has schooled himself on his district’s needs and state government. Bergquist is also mindful of the concerns of younger voters, from the current and former students he has taught.
Republican Sarah Sanoy-Wright needs to get more educated on the state’s issues before seeking higher office.