State Sen. Cheryl Pflug has earned another term in the Legislature.

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State Sen. Cheryl Pflug is an independent workhorse with high visibility in her district. She has earned another term in the Legislature.

The Maple Valley Republican voted for crane-safety legislation, in favor of domestic partnerships and a constitutionally protected rainy-day fund. A critical-care nurse with 20-years experience in health care, Pflug voted for mental-health parity, pointing out accurately that mental disorders are physical problems affecting brain chemistry.

The Democratic candidate, Phyllis Huster, has 20 years experience as a telecommunications executive and Microsoft contractor. But she lacks a civic résumé. Without prior public-sector experience, such as a parks or library board, Huster is an unknown quantity.

Huster’s campaign style is disappointing. Public-policy issues are fair game, but she has spent considerable time and energy attacking Pflug on private matters. As an untested candidate, Huster should concentrate on telling voters about herself, not her opponent.

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Pflug is a known quantity. After five years in the House, she advanced to fill the Senate seat vacated by Dino Rossi.

There’s no pigeonholing Pflug. As her GOP colleagues walked out last year after voting against a bill requiring medically and scientifically accurate sex education, Pflug was one of two Republicans who stayed and voted in favor of the legislation.

Pflug can zag when others zig. Her “Vision 21” proposal to postpone light rail down Interstate 90 and divert the money toward fixing the Alaskan Way Viaduct and expanding the 520 floating bridge to six lanes didn’t endear her to Eastside lawmakers. But those same lawmakers credit her for being accessible and attentive on issues such as the Eastside’s Cascade Water Alliance.

Pflug is not always on the right side. She opposed expansion of the state’s health-insurance program to include all children by 2010. While Pflug says the change would cover families at 300 percent of the federal poverty level, or $62,000 for a family of four, she doesn’t grasp the reality that for many of these families, health care is still unaffordable.

Overall, Pflug is right for the Senate.