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Originally published Tuesday, August 3, 2010 at 4:09 PM

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Need for change in the 44th district — vote for Hadian

The Legislature squandered opportunities to reset the Washington state budget in the last legislative session. The Times editorial board thinks it's time for a change in approach and in the 44th Legislative District.

AS part of our Reset 2010 project, this page has examined the many ways state leaders need to reprioritize the state budget rather than embrace Band-Aid remedies that kick responsibility down the road — again. As the editorial board applies its seven policy filters through which candidates will be judged, we have not endorsed incumbent candidates whom we routinely, even enthusiastically, endorsed in the past.

One of them is in the 44th Legislative District. Veteran state Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, is intelligent and hardworking but he is also emblematic of the excessive spending that has characterized Olympia in recent years.

We have endorsed him in each re-election campaign since 2000, but this year we cannot.

This year, the Legislature did not dig deeply enough or plan shrewdly enough to make systemic changes in the budget. It relied on one-time money or federal money that might not materialize and imposed $800 million in taxes on struggling citizens.

In a year when pressure is strong to change the terms of state employee contracts, the Washington State Labor Council made waves by withholding its early endorsement from many Democratic incumbents up for election. Dunshee was one of a handful of lawmakers who received the Labor Council's unabashed endorsement — he voted 10 for 10 on its selected issues. The Washington Federation of State Employees also endorsed him.

In an interview, Dunshee did not seem to recognize the need to reprioritize state government, to make it smaller. Especially because of his leadership positions on budgetary matters — he's currently chair of the House capital budget committee — we cannot fathom his denial.

He also voted to suspend Initiative 960, making way for the Legislature to raise taxes without approval from voters even though his district handily embraced the ballot measure.

So who instead of Dunshee?

His challengers, both Republicans, are not as strong as we would like, but either would bring a shrewder eye and a sharper pencil when it comes to the state budget — and that is the point, to get the state on a more sustainable path.

Our recommendation is for Shahram Hadian, a pastor at a Lynnwood church and a community activist who pushed successfully for Snohomish County's ban on near-naked baristas. He served briefly as a Redmond Police officer.

Bob McCaughan, a licensed architect and a Boy Scout volunteer, currently works part-time in a scuba diving shop and previously was a building department official for both Island and Snohomish counties. He ran unsuccessfully for Snohomish County Council.

Of the two, Hadian has launched the more serious campaign, sewing up endorsements from would-be seatmate Rep. Mike Hope, R-Lake Stevens, and Snohomish County Councilman John Koster.

Time for a change. Vote for Shahram Hadian.

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