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Originally published Saturday, June 23, 2012 at 4:00 PM

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The Times recommends: State Sen. Steve Hobbs for the U.S. House from the 1st District

State Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, tops a strong field for the District 1 U.S. House seat.

Seattle Times Editorial

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STATE Sen. Steve Hobbs has a demonstrated capacity to work across partisan lines under the most contentious circumstances. His skills and abilities are desperately needed in the U.S. Congress.

Hobbs, a Democrat from Lake Stevens, emerges from a strong field of candidates as the best choice to represent voters in King, Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom counties in the new 1st Congressional District.

Hobbs, who has served in the state Senate since 2006, blossomed with the formation of the Roadkill Caucus, a gathering of moderates more interested in crafting and passing effective legislation than political gamesmanship.

Hobbs was a key player in workers' compensation reforms and an overdue examination of the health-insurance system for Washington school employees.

The race for the open seat includes four other Democratic candidates: progressive political activist Darcy Burner, former state Rep. Laura Ruderman, Suzan DelBene, who directed the state Department of Revenue, and businessman Darshan Rauniyar.

Snohomish County Councilman John Koster is the lone Republican in the race. Independent candidate Larry Ishmael is also on the ballot.

The field represents a rich combination of community service, elected experience and significant professional and public contributions. In addition, Burner, DelBene, Koster and Ishmael all have run for Congress before.

As Hobbs notes, his 44th Legislative District is a microcosm of the 1st Congressional District, with a mix of agriculture and aerospace, and an equal split of Republican and Democratic voters.

He can speak with insight and conviction about getting government out of the way of business, and express the caution of a combat veteran about U.S. involvements overseas.

His service in Olympia is a template for the moderation and independence that are missing and desperately needed in Congress. In a field of strong candidates, Hobbs appears most able to think beyond party lines.

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