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Originally published Monday, July 16, 2012 at 5:24 PM

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Sen. Litzow earns another term

Steve Litzow has earned another term in the state Senate representing the 41st Legislative District.

Seattle Times Editorial

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STATE Sen. Steve Litzow is an independent-minded, strong advocate of public education and working families. The Mercer Island Republican has earned a second term in office.

Litzow's voice in the Legislature is critical in Olympia. He was the ranking member on the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee and served on the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing and Insurance Committee. He would continue to be a leader in those areas.

Litzow is part of a recent cadre of moderate Republicans, including state Sens. Joe Fain of Auburn and Andy Hill of Redmond, working across the aisle with moderate Democrats to push through key reforms in government. How politically inclusive is Litzow? His re-election campaign co-chair is Deb Eddy, the Kirkland Democrat who retired this year from the state House of Representatives.

Litzow led the effort to exchange a seniority-based layoff policy for teachers with one based on performance. He was also a leader in bringing major reform to the billion-dollar health-insurance program for school employees.

His independent streak sharpened earlier this spring when he became the first Republican in the Senate to publicly support gay marriage. Litzow showed he was willing to take the heat from the conservative wing of his party on an important issue.

Litzow's opponent, Maureen Judge, is a businesswoman and credible candidate. The Democrat says she is a stronger backer of women's issues than Litzow, pointing to the lawmaker's no vote this session on the Reproductive Parity Act, meant to ensure access to abortion insurance coverage after the federal health care law takes effect.

But Litzow is pro-abortion rights. The bill was a pawn in a game of political brinkmanship by Democrats and Republicans battling for control of the budget. The bill will have its day, and likely Litzow's support.

For his experience, independence and commitment to education, Litzow deserves another term.

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