The Journal endorses ... | Editorial

The Nov. 4 general election is, as John McCain and Barack Obama tell us, perhaps the most important election in recent history.

That applies on the local as well as national level. The challenges have increased since the campaign season began in early summer. Getting the economy moving again and paying the bills for basic public needs during a time of economic turmoil are two of the heavy challenges looming over each winner on Nov. 4.

Voters have an opportunity to send an islander to the state Senate to represent the unique interests of the San Juans in Olympia. According to our records, the last state senator from the San Juans might have been John Blair of Friday Harbor, in the first decade of the 1900s. State senators serve four-year terms and are paid $42,106 a year.

We will also choose people to make decisions on our behalf in the county Legislative Building. As County Council members, they will approve local laws and annual budgets; manage county property and funds; make decisions in land-use appeals; ensure public infrastructure, roads and buildings are in good shape; and determine how much we pay in county taxes. Each council member serves a four-year term and is paid $33,700 a year and benefits.

The Journal recommends a vote for the following individuals.

County Council, Friday Harbor: Howard Rosenfeld. Rosenfeld, the County Council chairman, deserves another term in office.

A former Town Council member and town fire chief, as well as long-time town business owner, Rosenfeld is acutely familiar with the relationship between the county and the town governments, how the decisions of one affects the other, and has long advocated ways the two can work together for efficiency’s sake.

Rosenfeld has also devoted much of his two-year term (he was elected after the charter was adopted) to ferry issues, including lobbying in Olympia for San Juan’s interests.

Under the county charter, Rosenfeld represents Friday Harbor residents on the County Council. He’s been a good representative for Friday Harbor and deserves another term.

County Council, San Juan South: Lovel Pratt. Pratt is open-minded and is familiar with rural and urban issues: She’s a farmer working to make agriculture economically sustainable on the San Juans. She’s a long-time county planning commissioner.

As an affordable housing advocate, she’s familiar with the economic challenges of island living, particularly housing and transportation. She sees agriculture as an important part of the island’s economic future, an untapped source of sustenance and wealth.

She will bring a fresh perspective and fresh ideas to the County Council.

State Representative, 40th District positions 1 and 2: Jeff Morris and Dave Quall. Both have long represented the islands’ best interests on such issues as agriculture, education, energy, technology and transportation. They know the islands. And Morris, as speaker pro tem, carries a lot of clout. We need to give them both another term working for the islands.

State Senate, 40th District: Kevin Ranker. Ranker presents a rare opportunity for the San Juans to be represented in the Senate. He has worked with the Legislature and our congressional delegation on behalf of the San Juans on such issues as economic development, health care, land preservation, and transportation.

Ranker is acutely familiar with the unique issues facing our county. He will give our small, isolated county a voice in the state Capitol.

U.S. House of Representatives, District 2: Rick Larsen. Larsen has been an effective representative for the district and the islands — from preservation of Mitchell Hill on San Juan Island to support for agriculture, the military and veterans; funding for highway improvements and transit; and solutions to relieve congestion at the border.

Larsen serves on the House Armed Services Committee; the Small Business Committee; the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; and subcommittees dealing with such issues as aviation, Coast Guard, maritime transportation, military seapower, trade, and rural and urban entrepreneurship.

Larsen deserves another term.

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