The east King County suburbs of the 5th Legislative district are well served by incumbent Reps. Jay Rodne and Chad Magendanz, seasoned Republican lawmakers with a record of fiscal restraint.
Rodne, first appointed to the seat in 2004, is an attorney for a local hospital district and a 20-year veteran of the Marine Corps Reserve. He is the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary committee, and holds a seat on Transportation, offering a key voice on congestion relief for his roads-dependent district.
Rodne brings fiscal common sense to the discussion of the Supreme Court’s education-funding McCleary decision. While supporting a $3 billion additional investment in schools, Rodne would tighten partnerships with industry to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and lengthen the school year to provide more instructional time.
He supported Gov. Jay Inslee’s failed efforts to preserve Washington’s No Child Left Behind waiver and retain control of $40 million, and opposes Initiative 1351, which would deepen the state’s already enormous education-funding obligation by as much as $4.7 billion through 2019.
Rodne’s views on social issues — in particular, leading opposition to gay marriage in the House and vigorously criticizing Inslee’s decision to halt capital punishment — are discordant with The Seattle Times editorial board’s positions.
His opponent, Democrat Essie Hicks, a former small business owner and an education advocate, is better on those issues. But her definition of the McCleary obligation — up to $7 billion more — and support for general “tax reform” suggests she’d be too free-spending for the 5th Legislative District.
No question that Magendanz, whom The Seattle Times previously endorsed in the primary election, should be returned to office. He ran for the seat in 2012 with a strong business and civic resume — Microsoft manager, Navy submariner, past president of Issaquah School Board — to win a House seat.
He’s quickly proven to be one of the clearest thinkers in the Legislature, particularly on education and transportation. He combines fiscal realism, data-driven wonkishness and left-leaning views on social issues such as abortion rights.
The 5th Legislative District should send him back to Olympia, where he’s shown promise as a future party leader.
Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Jonathan Martin, Erik Smith, Thanh Tan, Robert J. Vickers, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).