Litzow, Maxwell and Clibborn for state Legislature in District 41
In the 41st Legislative District, The Seattle Times recommends Steve Litzow for state Senate and Judy Clibborn and Marcie Maxwell for the state House. The fastest route to change is fresh voices willing to depart from entrenched, partisan politics.
THE sad state of Washington's economy heightens the need to send to the Legislature focused, independent-minded lawmakers who grasp the urgency of fiscal responsibility and tighter spending priorities.
In the 41st Legislative District, which spans southern Bellevue, Mercer Island and Newcastle down to northeastern Renton, the choices are balanced on a need for change and retaining experienced legislators. The Seattle Times editorial board recommends Republican Steve Litzow for Senate, and for the House, Democrats Marcie Maxwell and Judy Clibborn.
Litzow is a better choice than the incumbent, Bellevue Democrat Randy Gordon. Litzow is an abortion rights moderate able to reach across the political aisle in an increasingly partisan atmosphere in Olympia. His two top priorities, restrained state spending and reducing the tax burden on small businesses, are in line with the financially strapped public.
Gordon was appointed to the seat by members of the Metropolitan King County Council in January, after former state Sen. Fred Jarrett stepped down to become deputy King County executive. Gordon's brief tenure was unimpressive. The adjunct law professor at Seattle University was a dependable vote for the Democratic leadership and part of the crowd whose uncontrolled spending helped drive the budget into a hole.
By contrast, Litzow would push to return the state to a more focused model reflecting the governmental priorities set by former Gov. Gary Locke. Taxes as a solution for every revenue problem would be rejected by Litzow who points out constant raising of taxes did not work for tax-heavy and nearly bankrupt California. Litzow's two terms on the Mercer Island City Council and a regional assignment to the Eastside Transportation Partnership provide a foundation for state policymaking.
For the House seat, Position 1: Rep. Maxwell has worked to distinguish herself into a smart voice on K-12 schools and higher education.
Maxwell's vote in the last session for an unsustainable budget cannot be forgiven but can be placed in the context of a pragmatist pushing for reductions in other areas, such as closing state institutions. Maxwell supports the idea that state employees should bear the same recession-driven burdens carried by private sector employees. For her view, she was not endorsed this time around by the state employees' union.
Maxwell also showed independence by joining a band of lawmakers who pushed House Speaker Frank Chopp to allow legislative reform of the state's notoriously inefficient workers' compensation system. Maxwell went up against the Speaker again to push for a bill that would convert 30 of the state's poorest-performing liquor stores into private businesses. As Maxwell understood, inaction by the Legislature resulted in both issues becoming initiatives on the November ballot.
Her opponent, Mercer Island physician Peter Dunbar, would bring a welcome voice on health care legislation. But the former president of the Washington State Medical Association does not have any civic experience, making him too risky a bet in a legislative session that will include pressing matters far beyond health care.
Rep. Judy Clibborn is a valued veteran legislator and dogged worker on state transportation issues. As chair of the state House of Representatives Transportation Committee, she charted a blueprint for freight mobility and roads. But, as this page pointed out in the primary, the absence of a strong challenger gave the Mercer Island Democrat a pass she did not earn. In the next session, Clibborn must exhibit fiscal restraint and independence from the Democratic leadership.
A mix of fresh ideas and veteran experience works best for the 41st District.