In a time of multiple unprecedented challenges, the Legislature needs fresh ideas for solving society’s problems and experienced guidance on how policy works.
Voters in South King County’s 47th Legislative District should vote to return one of the most valuable examples of the latter category. Moderate Democrat Pat Sullivan of Covington deserves reelection to the legislative seat he has held since 2004.
Sullivan, who was Covington’s first mayor, has a long record of principled decision making within the House’s Democratic caucus, for which he is majority leader. He shepherded the body through difficult negotiations on school funding to meet Supreme Court requirements in the McCleary case.
Going into 2021, the Legislature will need steady, well-informed leadership as it searches for responsible ways to pare the budget and find long-term revenue solutions. Sullivan’s history of budget leadership goes back to the deep cuts that followed the 2008 recession. He understands which reductions come with unintended consequences and how to prioritize programs.
Sullivan rightly wanted the Legislature to convene for a budget-focused special session before a new fiscal year — and costly programs — started up July 1, and for scheduled pay raises for state workers to be canceled. Because that advice wasn’t followed, the Legislature may need to make even deeper cuts when it does convene. Sullivan’s insights will be needed to guide that painful process. His best-qualified challenger, Covington City Councilmember Joseph Cimaomo, a Republican, cannot match that expertise.
Little wonder that Speaker of the House Laurie Jinkins and other top House Democrats asked Sullivan to reverse course on his plans to step down and return to state office. Voters in the 47th district should eagerly reelect Sullivan.