Joe McDermott is the best choice to represent Metropolitan King County Council District 8, which includes southwest Seattle, Burien and Vashon Island.
McDermott brings experience and skills at collaborating and advancing policy. He spent a decade in the Legislature before he was elected to the council in 2010.
During the recent debates over how to divvy up lodging-tax revenue, McDermott was a pragmatic voice, defending the need for balancing investments in economic development, public infrastructure and housing.
Voters encountering McDermott on the campaign trail should discuss the burden of county taxes and fees with him.
An economic slowdown seems likely, the tax burden is making housing even less affordable, and the county is struggling to pay for basic services. Yet McDermott is part of a progressive caucus looking for ways to spend substantially more county tax dollars in the next few years on subsidized housing and boosting Sound Transit’s $96 billion spending plan between 2017-2041.
Challenger Michael Neher is an administrator at a Georgetown marine machinery company and a political neophyte. He’s running out of concern for how Seattle and King County are handling the homeless and addiction crises. He sees misplaced compassion in existing policies and is particularly concerned that a safe-injection site would enable addiction and cause more harm.
Neher brings a welcome challenge to McDermott, forcing him to respond to legitimate concerns about safety and civility in District 8. But Neher needs more civic experience and a broader campaign platform.
Voters should elect McDermott to another term on the council.