Voters in Washington’s Legislative District 11 should reelect Steve Bergquist to the state House of Representatives, Position 2.
Bergquist, a social-studies teacher at Renton’s Lindbergh High School, has been a dedicated advocate for youth and educational opportunity since the Democrat was first elected in 2012.
That hard work is reflected in House leadership roles. Bergquist earlier served as deputy majority floor leader and is currently second vice-chair of the appropriations committee.
Bergquist said he wants to continue working on education initiatives, such as the state’s Workforce Education Investment Act that provides sliding-scale scholarships for state residents, including free tuition for students in lower-income households.
To address revenue shortfalls, Bergquist would support new taxes, such as a capital-gains tax that he believes could combine spending cuts and rainy-day funds to get through the downturn. He’s also open to a carbon tax to help fund transportation improvements.
Challenger Sean Atchison, a technology consultant and veteran of Microsoft and DocuSign, does not favor any new taxes and believes the budget can be balanced with spending cuts. On transportation, the Republican favors pausing transit spending to catch up on road work.
Atchison is a thoughtful and articulate candidate. But he lacks civic experience and a compelling case to unseat Bergquist.
In contrast, Bergquist has extensive experience negotiating complex policies, such as education reforms and transportation packages, with Democrats and Republicans. That will be valuable as the Legislature faces several years of difficult budgeting.
Both candidates live in the Renton Highlands. That’s in the east end of the oddly shaped 11th District, which curves north around Southcenter, includes Boeing Field and follows the Duwamish up to Seattle’s Sodo neighborhood.
Atchison acknowledges that his opponent has a substantial lead and his campaign so far has raised little money. He believes the state Republican party isn’t doing as much to help first-time candidates like him as the Democratic Party does in supporting its candidates.
It’s always good for incumbents to be challenged. But Bergquist remains the best choice for House Position 2 in the 11th District.
Correction: This editorial, originally published Sept. 28, 2020, was corrected on Oct. 1, 2020, to reflect that Bergquist no longer serves as deputy majority floor leader.