Sunny days are flirting with us. Kids are bringing home backpacks full of a year’s worth of artwork. Sorry, adults, you’ve got an important job to do this summer: preparing for state and federal election decisions.
On the Aug. 2 primary ballot will be races for your state lawmakers and members of the U.S. House. U.S. Sen. Patty Murray is running for reelection, challenged by several who want to replace her.
Complicating this is that many voters might be in a different voting district this year. That could pose a challenge for incumbent U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier, D- Sammamish, 8th Congressional District, which was stretched further into more conservative territory on the east slopes of the Cascade Mountains. Of 10 challengers, five are Republican, including a familiar name: King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn, whose mother held that 8th District seat for years when it spanned eastern King and Pierce counties.
Many state lawmakers, especially those up for reelection, are sending letters of introduction to voters who suddenly have been assigned to their district. And more mail is on the way.
So, first check your voting districts. Go to votewa.gov, answer the questions and click on “My elected officials.” And then do your homework. Candidates who have filed can be found at https://voter.votewa.gov/CandidateList.aspx?e=876&c=
The Seattle Times editorial board is here to help. Members already have begun vetting candidates for several offices in King and Snohomish counties.
The editorial board, whose names are listed on this page, uses several filters to assess candidates. Among them:
● Qualifications: We are looking at candidates’ professional qualifications for the jobs they seek as well as evidence they have served their communities in other capacities. And by that I mean actually served their communities, not only parties or special interest groups. Highly valued are civic résumés that include volunteerism, appointed or elected offices, such as planning commission or school boards or councils.
● A strong commitment to improving education in our state for all students. Despite a major overhaul to the state’s school financing because of the McCleary lawsuit case, deep inequities persist between wealthy and less affluent districts and even within districts. The editorial board supports the state’s public charter schools law, for instance.
● Financially conservative. A major disappointment of the state Legislature this year is that it provided little tax relief to taxpayers despite a windfall of revenue and federal pandemic-related payments. All while their constituents are trying to manage inflation at 40-year record highs.
● Independence. My favorite question of candidates is to ask for examples of where they have disagreed with their parties or stood up to leadership or special interests. Partisan automatons do not serve the people, they serve the party.
In fact, the editorial board was a strong supporter of the top-two primary, hoping to see the valuable tensions of a government with a wide variety of ideas.
There are other considerations as well that we will be discussing in the endorsements we publish. All will be published by the time ballots are mailed in mid-July.
We offer these recommendations as more information to readers as they do their own homework.
Good luck, voters, start your vetting.
The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.