Opinion

For Congress, state House ... The Journal endorses | Editorial

America and Americans are struggling financially. We’re divided on whether the Stimulus Act was a bailout or an investment in the economy. The jobless rate in Washington state is at 8.9 percent.

But the solutions are more complex than simply “cut taxes” and “lower government spending,” which is what many candidates are spouting. Lowering taxes is one thing. Bringing in enough revenue to cover the cost of providing public services is another.

No, today’s candidate has to be creative and innovative, as well as knowledgeable. We need ideas, not slogans.

The top two vote-getters, regardless of party, advance to the Nov. 2 general election. Based on their records and statements, The Journal would like to see the following advance to the general election.

U.S. House of Representatives, District 2:
Rick Larsen and Larry Kalb

Larsen, D-Bellingham, has served our district well in his five terms: the Wild Sky Wilderness Act, which protects 106,000 acres of wild lands in the heart of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest; a Veterans Administration outpatient clinic for veterans in San Juan, Skagit and Whatcom counties; the transfer of Mitchell Hill to San Juan Island National Historical Park; and pending funding for pedestrian and vehicle traffic improvements at the Friday Harbor ferry terminal.

He’s pushed for legislation to prevent and treat meth addiction. He supported the Wall Street Transparency and Accountability Act. He’s a member of key committees: Armed Services, Transportation and Infrastructure, and Budget.

Democrat Kalb, past president of Health Care for All — Washington, presents the biggest challenge to Larsen, and he presents the most radical ideas.

Kalb wants to renegotiate our free trade agreements to improve exports and keep more jobs from going overseas. He opposes recent healthcare reform legislation and believes Americans should have the same access to quality health care that members of Congress do. “Americans have the highest drug prices in the world. We should eliminate direct-to-consumer advertising.”

His vision of immigration reform: reform visa programs to keep families together, protect workers’ rights and ensure that future immigration is regulated and controlled; implement enforcement measures targeted at the worst violators of immigration and labor laws; and respect the due process rights of all in the United States.

We’d like to see the issues discussions continue between Larsen and Kalb.

State House, 40th District, Position 2:
Jeff Morris

There are three candidates, but we see no need for change. Morris has been an effective representative for our district in Olympia. He has the right combination of clout, experience and ideas. He is House speaker pro-tem and a member of the Audit Review and Oversight; Ecology and Parks; Rules; Technology, Energy, and Communications; and Transportation committees.

Morris has pushed to improve energy efficiency and facilitate investment in green technology in Washington state. He supported legislation that allows towns and cities to adopt — with voter approval — a sales and use tax of 0.1 percent for public safety. He wants to get back to “Price of Government” budgeting, in which each state government agency identifies and funds its priority services and drops the rest.

In reducing positions, he supports saving positions that provide face-to-face service, while putting other positions on the table for debate.

Regarding the state ferries, Morris and Rep. Christine Rolfes of Bremerton recommend contracting management of the ferry service to the private sector, putting it back up for contract consideration every six years; and getting new 144-car boats in the water as soon as possible to replace the Super Class ferries, “which would save us fuel and crewing costs that currently impact ferry fares.”

To help protect K-12 education funding, Morris proposes a constitutional amendment requiring that initiatives balance the budget with cuts or taxes they propose.

We believe Morris should be kept in office.

State House, 40th District, Position 1:
Thomas Boucher and Tom Pasma

Boucher has been a business owner, an industry association leader, a non-profit director, and a legislative and congressional aide. Pasma is a horse rancher in Bow and is active in agriculture on the local and state levels. As a citizen advocate, he worked for legislation that benefits agriculture and farmers.

Boucher and Pasma are politically savvy and have good ideas on how to improve the administration of state and local tax programs, ensure state government services are prioritized and responsible, ensure education is adequately funded, invest in our transportation and infrastructure, and preserve our farmland and sustainable agriculture. They know that citizens must be willing to pay for the services they demand.

We recommend advancing Pasma and Boucher to the general election.

— ONLINE: Q&A with state House candidates: Position 1; Position 2

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