Voters in the 9th Congressional district have a long and distinguished record to examine when deciding whether to return U.S. Rep. Adam Smith to the nation’s capital yet again. Reelection would give Smith, D-Bellevue, his 14th term in Congress, the longest service in Washington’s House delegation. Smith’s experience, ability and political strength as chair of the House Committee on Armed Services serve the state well. He is easily the best choice in this election.
His position influencing national military policy is deeply significant to Washington voters. Washington has the nation’s sixth-largest population of active military personnel, according to a 2021 Governing survey of states, mainly because of the state’s large defense bases, including Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Naval Base Kitsap. Washington also ranks high in reliance on military contractors, particularly Boeing, as fundamental economic drivers.
Despite the state’s outsize benefit from defense investments, Smith is a proven watchdog against overfunding. In 2021, he opposed a Republican-led plan to add $24 billion to the already enormous $716 billion military budget President Joe Biden proposed. Smith lost the fight in a committee vote, but told the editorial board it had been the right stand — in a world before Russia’s Ukraine invasion called for still more military spending.
“We have to care as much about how we spend the money as we do about how much money we spend,” Smith said in an interview.
Smith has not always been a reliable ally for international trade, which is crucial to the state economy. In 2015, he objected to the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Trade Promotion Authority, citing concerns about worker pay and the environment. But he has since supported the 2019 U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and said that Biden “has not done enough to lessen” the harmful tariffs President Donald Trump instituted in a trade war with China.
Smith’s international acumen and high standing in Congress make him an invaluable asset for Washington for years to come. Of his five opponents, Democrat Stephanie Gallardo, a teacher, union leader and socialist, leads in money-raising and has the most coherent policy platform. But she is campaigning to make unsustainable cuts to the military budget to fund domestic services, a risky move in a world where China is rapidly building its superpower status.
Also on the ballot are Republicans Doug Basler, a businessman making his fifth run for this office who has lost by wide margins to Smith, and Sea Chan, an officer in the Navy and Merchant Marines who has not held public office.
Smith is the clear choice for another term in Congress.