Pedersen is a productive and influential representative of the progressive Seattle district's interests in Olympia.
State Sen. Jamie Pedersen is a smart, effective leader who should be re-elected by Seattle voters in the 43rd District.
A Puyallup native, Pedersen is vice president and general counsel at McKinstry, a large Seattle-based construction and building engineering firm. The Democrat was elected to the House in 2006, appointed to the Senate in 2013, elected in 2014 and could be the next Senate majority leader.
Republican challenger Dan Harder is a Boeing engineer who raises good questions about fiscal restraint. But he lacks civic experience, and his focus on reversing the state’s new surrogate parenting rules and other social issues would be counterproductive in Olympia and out of step with the überprogressive 43rd District that includes Capitol Hill, Fremont and Wallingford.
Voters in the district should press Pedersen to be a better advocate for the state Public Records Act. Not only did Pederson vote to partly exempt the Legislature with Senate Bill 6617, he penned a weaselly explanation shared widely by others in the caucus to angry voters demanding answers. Constituents should remind him that the Legislature doesn’t need or deserve special treatment different from other state and local government bodies.
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Pedersen is a strong supporter of public schools. However he stands apart from some other Senate leaders in favoring a major and wrongheaded change to McCleary education reforms: to lift the lids on local school levies.
The core of the McCleary deal raised state education taxes to cover basic education, and offset that by lowering local school levies. Seattle residents saw that big increase in state school taxes this year and shouldn’t have to also pay higher local levies. Pedersen must use his leadership in the Senate to ensure the state fulfills its promise to amply fund basic education, including special education, before allowing local levies to rise again.
Voters in the 43rd are represented by a standout state senator who is a productive and influential advocate for their interests. They should re-elect Pedersen on Nov. 6.