Share story

The editorial board is making recommendations for voters in King County on local, county and legislative races appearing on the Nov. 7, 2017, election ballot. Each endorsement will explain our thinking, but generally we look for moderates with a commitment to work across party lines.

Read summaries of each choice for selected races below.

Jump to:

State Senate

Jinyoung Lee Englund for State Senate, 45th Legislative District seat

Strengths: Jinyoung Lee Englund is an impressive candidate with experience as a congressional staffer and developing a communications app for the Marine Corps.
Republican Jinyoung Lee Englund presses a persuasive case that her election will preserve a ‘balance of government’ that will better serve Washington state.”

Patty Kuderer for 48th Legislative District Senate seat

Strengths: State Sen. Patty Kuderer already has been proven successful at promoting sensible legislation with bipartisan support.
Kuderer has demonstrated knowledge and skills in a variety of policy areas, from transportation to business, health care and the environment.”

State House

Vandana Slatter for 48th Legislative District House seat

Strengths: Brings much needed expertise in health care and biotechnology to Olympia. During her first session, she has already been effective at getting two bills passed by the Legislature.
Slatter has a long and varied civic resume. She brought a fresh perspective to the Bellevue City Council, where she got involved in international trade, resource management, transportation and youth, before moving on to the state Legislature.”

King County executive

Dow Constantine for King County executive

Strengths: After two terms, King County Executive Dow Constantine presents a credible case for re-election.
Under Constantine, the county is focused on reducing homelessness, and improving efficiencies and delivery of services. But there is room for improvement: As a continuing member of the Sound Transit board, Constantine should be vigilant in ensuring accountability for the agency. And the catastrophic failure at the West Point wastewater treatment plant happened under his watch.”

King County Sheriff

Mitzi Johanknecht for King County Sheriff

Strengths: Mitzi Johanknect has managed the SWAT team, special operations and two different precincts.
Incumbent John Urquhart’s management ability is legitimately called into question by a suppressed rape investigation. Johanknecht deserves a chance to straighten the ship and reset the community credibility of the sheriff.”

King County Council

Kathy Lambert for King County Council, District 3

Strengths: Lambert is a go-to problem solver tasked with solving some of King County’s biggest problems.
Since 2002, Lambert has represented the county’s largest district. She has taken on many issues at the heart of King County, including driving the council’s stepped-up oversight of the county’s response to the catastrophic damage at its West Point treatment plant.”

Reagan Dunn for King County Council, District 9

Strengths: Twelve years on the council, with a long list of accomplishments.
Since 2005, this moderate conservative has racked up a long list of accomplishments on the council, from several initiatives to improve the lives of veterans to finding more money for bus service around the region and advocating on behalf of addiction treatment and the people in recovery.”

King County Veterans and Human Services Levy

Approve levy

Advisory Votes

No. 16: Maintain

Seattle Mayor

Jenny Durkan for Seattle Mayor

Strengths: Steady leadership, a decades-long resume of civic engagement, pragmatic solutions for big Seattle problems.
Durkan has management chops forged from experience, a broad view of Seattle’s role in the region and state, and a focus on affordability that works for both old and new Seattle.”

Seattle City Council

Jon Grant for Seattle City Council, Position 8

Strengths: Grant’s deep understanding of Seattle’s social-services apparatus, and willingness to address shortcomings in the city’s response to housing and homeless challenges, make him the superior candidate.
Grant is not a perfect candidate. His campaign proposals include a few loopy and unworkable business taxes, but perhaps that’s de rigueur in Seattle politics nowadays.”

Pat Murakami for Seattle City Council Position 9

Strengths: Murakami, whose business supports accounting software, is running on a campaign to increase fiscal responsibility
Murakami has a proven record of advocating for better governance and Seattle’s underserved communities.”

Seattle City Attorney

Scott Lindsay for Seattle City Attorney

Strengths: Scott Lindsay worked on Capitol Hill and at a Seattle law firm before becoming Mayor Ed Murray’s top crime adviser. That City Hall work gives Lindsay a full understanding of what works and doesn’t work within the Venn diagram of misdemeanor prosecution, mental illness and drug addiction.
He showed creativity and expertise while in City Hall, pushing through the “9½ blocks” strategy to disrupt the open-air drug market at Third and Pike. He came up with a new, stronger approach for outreach to homeless tent camps that has proved far more effective than the old laissez-faire approach.”

Port of Seattle Commission

John Creighton for Port of Seattle Commission, Position 1

Strengths: Creighton, a lawyer who has served since 2006, is this race’s candidate most committed to defending the port and Seattle’s maritime and industrial zones — and the jobs they support — from encroaching development.
His experience, including leadership developing the port’s growth plan and his understanding of the realities of the port’s competitive challenges, makes him the superior choice.”

Stephanie Bowman for Port of Seattle Commission, Position 3

Strengths: Experience and strong background in economic development.
Bowman has demonstrated principled, responsive leadership, most recently on supporting a path forward for Ivar’s to operate a food-card after being displaced from Sea-Tac’s central terminal.”

Peter Steinbrueck for Port of Seattle, Position 4

Strengths: Steinbrueck is a Seattle architect who served three terms on the City Council. His civic accomplishments prove his commitment to improving the region and ability to get things done in a vexing political climate.
His professional experience will benefit a port district that’s embarking on a building spree and working to support entrepreneurs. Steinbrueck’s best qualification for the job, though, is his determination to defend and support the port’s portfolio of economic-development tools through uncertain times.”

Seattle Public Schools

Eden Mack for Seattle School Board District 4

Strengths: More interested and knowledgeable about education policy than almost anyone in Seattle, master’s degree from University of Washington Evans School of Public Policy, parent of three elementary school-aged children in Seattle schools.
Mack aims to help the district solve its financial crisis, make the most of its money and find waste in the budget.”

Omar Vasquez for Seattle School Board, District 5

Strengths: His legal knowledge and time as a classroom teacher would be a benefit to the school board.
Vasquez has the edge as a former teacher and because he has some concrete and creative ideas for tackling the district’s financial problems and addressing the achievement gap.”

Chelsea Byers for Seattle School Board District 7

Strengths: Sharp financial knowledge, new ideas to push the district beyond its budget problems and lack of progress in closing the achievement gap, experience teaching in an inner-city school district.
When the next school board hires a superintendent, Byers said she would look for someone focused on research-backed strategies for closing the achievement gap and with experience moving the needle for struggling kids.”

Bellevue School Board

My-Linh Thai for Bellevue School Board, District 5

Strengths: She has an expert-level understanding of state education policy and budgeting. She values communication and community connections and wants to get students more involved in school-district policy decisions.
During her first term on the board, she volunteered to advocate for school funding before the Legislature, and worked on racial equity and the achievement gap locally and statewide through the Washington State School Directors’ Association.”

Bellevue City Council

Conrad Lee for Bellevue City Council, Position 2

Strengths: Lee is concerned about public input and the needs and concerns of his community.
The retired engineer and businessman is focused on transportation, traffic and quality of life. He wants Bellevue to make progress, while remaining fiscally responsible.”

Jared Nieuwenhuis for Bellevue City Council, Position 4

Strengths: Jared Nieuwenhuis is smart, organized and constructive, approaches that can help in what could easily be tense interactions on city business.
He’s a big believer in what locals like to call ‘the Bellevue way’ of building consensus after extended periods of discussion and debate.”

Janice Zahn for Bellevue City Council, Position 5

Strengths: Zahn is knowledgeable about Bellevue issues and has the civic and professional experience to tackle them.
Zahn’s civic résumé is impressive. She is a graduate of Advance Bellevue, a local leadership development program. She has been both a PTA and Girl Scout leader. She helped develop Bellevue’s walking and biking plan aimed at making Bellevue a more pedestrian and bike friendly city.”

Lynne Robinson for Bellevue City Council, Position 6

Strengths: Robinson has been involved with all the most important issues before the Bellevue City Council, from affordable housing to transportation.
During her tenure, Robinson, a physical therapist and small-business owner, has focused on affordable housing, human services and the environment. She encouraged Bellevue to join the King County Cities Climate Collaboration.”


Michael Spearman for Court of Appeals, Division 1, District 1

Strengths: Spearman has been rated “exceptionally well qualified” by the King County Bar Association and by five other legal associations.
Before he was appointed to the Court of Appeals in 2010, he served King County as a Superior Court Judge for 14 years. He was a private practice attorney and public defender as well.