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Originally published Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 4:07 PM

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The Times endorses Suzan DelBene in the 8th Congressional District

Promising newcomer Suzan DelBene, a Democrat, gets The Seattle Times' endorsement in the 8th Congressional District over incumbent Republican Rep. Dave Reichert,

WHEN Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn retired in 2004 from the 8th District that spans eastern King and Pierce counties, the Republican Party looked far and wide for a candidate to fill her capable shoes.

King County Sheriff Dave Reichert was chosen and elected on a wave of popular appeal for a law-enforcement officer whose dogged decades-long work led to the capture of the Green River killer. Now a three-term congressman, Reichert has failed to ably fill the Dunn legacy.

The Seattle Times endorses Democrat Suzan DelBene. The technology entrepreneur from Medina is politically untested but offers tremendous promise.

A deep and continuing financial crisis calls out for someone with sharp business and entrepreneurial skills and an acute understanding of what went wrong in the first place. DelBene is an unambiguous supporter of the tough financial reforms recently enacted by Congress. Reichert would work to repeal parts of the reform legislation. A repeal would signal a return to diminished federal oversight and watered-down consumer protections.

The two candidates also disagree about the newly created consumer finance protection agency. DelBene supports it. Reichert does not.

DelBene is not a guaranteed Democratic vote. She would have gone further to reform Wall Street, including reviving the Glass-Steagall Act — the Depression-era legislation that once kept commercial lending separate from investment activities. DelBene seems to grasp the urgency to simplify and reinvigorate government oversight.

Her push for political leadership that hews toward smaller, shorter bills is compelling after a year focused largely on legislation thousands of pages long — health-care reform, for example.

By contrast, Reichert supports repealing health-care reform, an effort that would further distract Congress from guiding a still-fragile recovery.

DelBene is unequivocal about the need to disengage America from two protracted and expensive wars. Long-term stability in Afghanistan, DelBene says, is best led by the Afghans.

The Democrat supports significant investment in transportation infrastructure as a way to speed up the movement of cargo and help this region's bottom line on trade.

DelBene supports net neutrality and the role of the Federal Communications Commission in regulating the Internet. Unfettered access to the Internet resonates in the tech-oriented 8th District. Reichert has gone back and forth on the issue, supporting net neutrality in his 2006 re-election campaign, but more recently signing a letter urging the chair of the FCC not to proceed with plans to protect net neutrality.

Jennifer Dunn represented the 8th District with a balanced, pragmatic and district-focused style. Reichert knows his district well as the former King County Sheriff. On issues such as federal funding of stem-cell research, he has hesitatingly — but in the end correctly — parted with the GOP and voted in favor of science-based efforts to cure many illnesses.

But Reichert's leadership after six years has failed to invoke the same shrewd, bipartisan tone demonstrated by Dunn. Time to give DelBene, a smart moderate, a chance.

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