Despite his failure to engage Republican colleagues in crafting last session’s transportation package, state Rep. Bill Ramos is the best candidate to represent the 5th Legislative District, Position 1.
Ramos is a liberal Democrat whose votes often mirror those of his Seattle colleagues. His Eastside district includes parts of Issaquah, Maple Valley, Black Diamond and the Snoqualmie Valley. He has a background in forest sciences and biology, and has worked for both the U.S. Forest Service and federal Department of Transportation. He has earned previous Times’ endorsements, in part, for his transportation expertise.
As a vice chair of the House Transportation Committee, Ramos helped craft the nearly $17 billion transportation package lawmakers passed largely on party lines last session. But he and his colleagues should have done more to include the minority party in those discussions. Instead, he and the bill’s other architects, all Puget Sound-area Democrats, crafted the proposal without meaningful Republican input.
In a recent interview, he blamed the breakdown on Republican lawmakers, who he says pledged not to vote for any package that included new streams of revenue. “So we did talk to them,” he said. “We wanted to have them, like they always were. But if you can’t allow any revenue to come in, then the conversation ended early on.”
That’s not good enough. The bill negotiators had a responsibility to include diverse perspectives in their negotiations to ensure the entire state would benefit from the proposal. While the final package contains many important provisions, some rural lawmakers have complained that it shortchanges their districts. Better dialogue could have minimized the rift.
Ramos faces three challengers, including Maple Valley businessman Ken Moninski, a Republican, who owns an aircraft-services company and ran against Ramos two years ago, and first-time candidate Landon Halverson, a former field organizer with the National Republican Senatorial Committee and King County GOP staffer. Neither bring comparable skills or experience.
Of the three, Ramos’ experience gives him the edge.