In her first term representing the 44th Legislative District, which now includes Snohomish and Mill Creek, Democrat April Berg hit the ground running. She has proved herself a quick study on the finance, education and local government committees and worked across the aisle to pass legislation.

She has earned her constituents’ support for a second term.

Seattle Times editorial board endorsements: Nov. 8, 2022, general election

Berg said she is proud of the eight bills she was able to shepherd through the Legislature with bipartisan support, including doing away with the reduced-price school lunch copay and offering private investment incentives for data centers across the state.

On public safety, Berg said lawmakers didn’t get it “100% right” when they passed law enforcement reforms in 2021, so she supported a series of adjustments, including on police pursuit. Training new officers is crucial, she said, and is ready to back the creation of regional training centers to help meet demand.

The incumbent said that while there was little “political will” to use the revenue surplus to grant meaningful tax relief, she supports measures that would put money back in Washingtonians’ pockets. As an example, she pointed to a bill she co-sponsored that would have eliminated state property tax on the first $250,000 of a home’s assessed value.

The former school board director spoke bluntly about the failures of the state to properly fund special education, calling it “obscene” and said the school funding model itself is broken. “The ratios set for everything from mental health to janitorial support are simply not adequate and not reflective of how we do schools,” Berg said. “As policymakers, we have to make all of the kids, in all 295 districts, whole in an equitable way.”

Berg supported the so-called middle housing bill, which would have imposed a one size fits all approach to zoning. We urge her to reconsider backing a similar measure, as the bill was at odds with her stated belief that addressing a lack of housing should respect single family zoning.

Asked where she diverges with her party, Berg said that while she is aligned with Democratic tenets, her constituents will always come first. “When I’m in the room, folks know that I’m representing the 44th, and that’s a diversity of people who have a diversity of views and opinions,” she said.

Berg is challenged by Republican Ryne Rohla, an antitrust economist in the state attorney general’s office, who said he is a pragmatic conservative who eschews party dogma and wants to bring more balance to the Legislature. He offers voters a solid alternative, but the incumbent has shown she is a strong representative for her constituents and remains the best choice.