Braddock’s record working in government makes her especially ready to step into a new role in the Legislature.

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The pool of candidates running to replace retiring state Senate Majority Leader Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, is impressively deep.

Five Democrats make credible cases for why they should be elected as the next senator for the 34th Legislative District, which includes West Seattle, Vashon Island, White Center and parts of Burien.

Yet Democrat Shannon Braddock, the deputy chief of staff for King County Executive Dow Constantine, still rises to the top, largely due to her experience working on complex legislation and forging consensus across party lines.

Before assuming her current position, Braddock, a single mother of three, worked for six years as chief of staff for King County Councilmember Joe McDermott, in addition to being a PTA leader and board member at the West Seattle Food Bank.

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Braddock understands the need to invest in community-based mental-health beds, but also to address management issues and increase accountability at Western State Hospital, which recently lost $53 million after failing another federal inspection. She supports state investments in programs to fight homelessness and build affordable housing, yet stresses the importance of assessing whether those programs are meeting intended outcomes. She takes progressive stances on issues such as banning assault weapons, repealing the death penalty and enacting a tax on capital gains, something she said Democrats in Olympia should have brought up for a vote by now.

Braddock strongly disagrees with the Legislature’s misguided attempt to exempt itself from the state’s Public Records Act, a transparency law she said she follows without difficulty as a county official.

Other notable candidates in the race include Joe Nguyen, a senior program manager at Microsoft who sits on a community advisory committee for King County law enforcement; Lois Schipper, a public-health nurse and manager at Seattle Children’s who has worked extensively on local school-levy campaigns; Sofia Aragon, the executive director of the Washington Center for Nursing and former lobbyist for the state nurse’s association; and Annabel Quintero, a small-business owner and PTSA leader.

All four Democrats seem deeply dedicated to their community and have the potential to be good elected officials. (Three other candidates — Democrat Lemuel Charleston, Republican Darla Green and Republican Courtney Lyle — did not respond to a request to participate in the Times’ endorsement process.)

Yet Braddock’s record working in government makes her especially ready to step into a new role in the Legislature.

Voters in the 34th district should elect Braddock as their next state senator.