A moderate Democrat, Sullivan played a pivotal role in the Legislature finally agreeing on a massive overhaul of its education funding system.
An easy choice for voters in the 47th Legislative District is electing Pat Sullivan to another term in House Position 2.
The former Covington mayor was first elected to the House in 2004 and is now Majority Leader.
A moderate Democrat, Sullivan played a pivotal role in the Legislature finally agreeing on a massive overhaul of its education funding system. His persistence and hard work helped produce a plan that substantially increased education funding. It should also reduce disparities in basic education and improve student outcomes.
While turnover is healthy in Olympia, the 47th and the state would benefit from Sullivan’s continued presence.
It will take several years for the McCleary education plan to be fully implemented. In the interim, the Legislature must resist pressure from special-interests and some school districts to make major changes, such as allowing higher local levies.
Overdependence on local levies for basic-education funding was the problem. The fix was to cap levies and increase state funding. That should remove inequities between districts and provide districts with ample state funding.
As an architect of the plan, Sullivan is rightly opposed to lifting levy lids unless the state discovers a grave mistake in its funding formula. The plan includes a process to help districts with budget problems and that should be utilized, he notes.
Sullivan loses points for voting to partly exempt the Legislature from the state Public Records Act and failing to use his leadership position to demand hearings on that bill. But he now regrets the decision and is supporting a task force on the issue.
Two Republicans are running, health coach Lindsey Shumway and software tester Ted Cooke. The public benefits from the spirited challenge they present, but both need more civic experience before they can provide service similar to what Sullivan offers the 47th.