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Originally published Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 3:47 PM

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In the 2nd Congressional District, vote for Rep. Rick Larsen

In a close call, The Seattle Times editorial board endorses incumbent Rep. Rick Larsen for the 2nd Congressional District.

IN this of all years, change is needed in government at all levels. But in the 2nd Congressional District, in a tough call, The Seattle Times editorial board is sticking with incumbent Democratic Rep. Rick Larsen as he seeks a sixth term.

His challenger, Snohomish County Councilman John Koster, is a distinguished, fiscally prudent and responsible public servant, no question. His experience in local government, as a state lawmaker and as a dairy farmer would certainly be a benefit in Congress. However, the Arlington Republican's very conservative social views — against a woman's right to choose and gay rights — and his skepticism that humans have any role in climate change disqualify him for our endorsement.

That said, voters should be grateful to Koster for giving Larsen a vigorous challenge.

For the record, we do not buy Larsen's misleading TV ad saying Koster supports "privatization" of Social Security. When pressed, Larsen plays a semantics game about Koster's support for individuals being allowed voluntarily to put a small amount of money in individual retirement accounts.

The Times is endorsing Larsen, but with reservations. He has been an able congressman, attending to the needs and challenges of a district with an international border that is home to Boeing, Naval Station Everett, and fishing and diverse agriculture industries. He has a sophisticated view on trade that is critical to this state.

Larsen's priorities to ensure that Boeing lands the Air Force tanker contract and increase access to capital for small business are good ones, but we also want him more focused on finding ways to cut the federal budget deficit, without harming small businesses. We are sharply skeptical of his view that thousands of small businesses — so-called S corporations — will not be hurt by the expiration of Bush tax cuts.

We remain disappointed in his willingness to compromise on net neutrality, the concept of ensuring Internet users have a free flow of information. The pathways should be open to everyone, not just the highest bidder.

The Times endorses Rick Larsen for re-election in the 2nd Congressional District.

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