Voters in Seattle’s 43rd Legislative District should re-elect House Speaker Frank Chopp. His leadership should help the state finally improve mental-health services in 2019.

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As they have since 1994, voters in Seattle’s 43rd Legislative District should elect Frank Chopp for state representative.

Speaker of the House since 2002, the Seattle Democrat projects a low-profile public persona that belies his immense power in the Legislature and forceful advocacy for Democrats, social-justice issues and affordable housing.

While Chopp is overall a force for good, there are areas where he could improve and bring more transparency.

Chopp says he’s a strong supporter of the Public Records Act and had concerns about Engrossed Senate Bill 6617, a noxious bill that would have partly exempted legislators if it weren’t vetoed.

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Yet he voted for the bill and allowed it to be ramrodded, declining to use his considerable influence to ensure public hearings and records.

Gun control is an issue of major public concern. But in March Chopp declined to have a floor vote on a bill that would have required background checks, similar to those required for pistols, on “tactical” semi-automatic rifles and shotguns.

Chopp said there weren’t enough votes for passage and it would have wasted precious time. But his decision limited visibility into why majority Democrats couldn’t pass the common-sense measure.

Two well-intentioned newcomers bravely challenged Chopp for Position 2 but neither has enough experience.

Voters in the 43rd and the state would benefit from Chopp’s skills as the Legislature increases its focus on mental-health services. His experience should also help Olympia resist pressure to rejigger McCleary education-funding reforms before they’re fully implemented.