For six terms, Rep. Tina Orwall has been an exemplary representative of South King County’s 33rd Legislative District. Voters should reelect her.
The Des Moine Democrat’s leadership in passing state laws to aid sex-crime victims, foster children and people considering suicide has been outstanding. She is also a thoughtful, pragmatic voice in the Democratic caucus.
Little wonder that no challenger has filed qualifying papers to run against her since 2016. An opponent does appear on the November ballot after a write-in primary campaign. But district voters should not hesitate to support Orwall.
Her strong record is exactly what voters should hope to see in Olympia. Her background in mental-health care and social work provides valuable expertise to inform debates over behavioral health and policing. In the last term alone, her bills to eradicate Washington’s shameful backlog of 10,000 untested sexual assault evidence kits and strengthen state policy for how DNA evidence is handled have passed with overwhelming majorities. This doesn’t only indicate that Orwall knows how to collect bipartisan support. It shows she knows how to move state policy toward justice. Hundreds of those newly tested evidence kits have matched DNA profiles of known offenders in a federal database, making prosecutions possible.
Orwall also has championed causes specific to her district, which includes communities around Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. She has provided support to fix aging soundproofing materials the Port of Seattle provided decades ago to help nearby homeowners tolerate flight noise. And she led the way to bring University of Washington scientists into SeaTac to study how air pollution affects residents’ lungs. She also was among the righteous minority in the Legislature to stand against a shameful 2018 bill to limit public access to legislators’ records. That measure was vetoed.
Challenger Kerry French, a Kent Republican, did the district a civic service by providing a choice on the November ballot. French deserves praise for the considerable effort to amass more than 400 write-in votes to get onto the general election ballot. However, her skeptical views about COVID-19 prevention are not helpful to the fight to tame the pandemic. French also claims a state sex-education curriculum will force “graphic content” before young students, which is untrue.
Orwall is the best candidate, yet again.