State Rep. Strom Peterson’s pragmatic legislative record and experience as a local government official and retail business owner make him the best candidate to return to Olympia for a daunting task.

The Edmonds Democrat is running for his fourth term representing the 21st Legislative District, which includes Lynnwood, Mukilteo, Edmonds and Everett.

The COVID-19 pandemic has sent the state’s economy — and state revenues — tumbling. The state could face as much as a $9 billion shortfall over three years, which means course corrections are required. Peterson disagrees with Gov. Jay Inslee’s recent decision not to call the Legislature back for a special session so lawmakers could get started combing through the budget and crafting solutions.

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While some of his colleagues want to use this crisis to advocate for tax increases only, Peterson says he will be pushing solutions that also include program cuts. “It’s going to be a combination,” he said during an endorsement interview.

As chair of the Commerce and Gaming Committee, he ushered a bill through that legalized sports gambling in Washington. This editorial board disagreed with its limit to only tribal casinos.

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Neither of Peterson’s challengers make the case that he should be replaced. Republican Brian Thompson is a fire protection engineer who said he was “compelled” to run because of the recent crisis. He is averse to tax increases and opposes Peterson’s support of the measles vaccine mandate, sex education law and proposed assault weapons ban.

Democrat Gant Diede is a student working in network technology. His solution for the state’s budget crisis is to tax the wealthy and take on more debt. “The way to get out of crisis is spending,” he said. His criticism of the Legislature is that it is not bold enough on climate change.

Peterson has served his district well, and voters should send him back to Olympia.