Rep. Eric Pettigrew views his role as a state lawmaker through the issues that deeply impact his South Seattle district.
When asked about his top issues for the next legislative session, Pettigrew will tick off housing, homelessness, income inequality, support for small businesses, early learning, crime, the opioid epidemic and equity in public schools.
The Democrat from the 37th Legislative District, having served in the House for 16 years, should be sent back to Olympia for another term to keep working on the issues vital to his community and the state.
Why we endorse
Read editorial page editor Kate Riley’s column about the editorial board’s endorsement process and criteria. Go to st.news/whyweendorse
Pettigrew says there must be a statewide discussion on drug treatment, recovery housing, community mental health and drug addiction. Addiction, he says, can be directly tied to homelessness. It would be wrong, he said, to focus on one and not the other.
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Regarding public education, Pettigrew plans to focus on accountability, finance reform and closing the achievement gap between children of different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds. He wants to get more school funding to the schools and children who need the most academic help.
Pettigrew says he’s open to lifting a school district’s ability to levy higher local property taxes for education providing the state is specific about how such funding may be used. Not so fast. The editorial board believes raising the cap on local levies is premature until the state’s new education funding system is fully tested.
Regrettably, Pettigrew was unapologetic about his vote earlier this year to exempt the Legislature from some parts of the state’s Open Records Act, a serious misreading of the intent of the law.
In a meeting with the editorial board, Pettigrew also was not specific enough on how he or the Legislature would solve some of the most pressing issues. It’s possible a better opponent in the future might prompt him to sharpen up his answers.
Nonetheless, voters should re-elect Pettigrew, in part, because his most active opponent, candidate John Dickinson, has some odd ideas about teaching marksmanship in public schools and storing rifles in classrooms.