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Originally published Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 4:50 PM

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Editorial: The Times recommends Joe Fitzgibbon in the 34th Legislative District

Elect Democrat Joe Fitzgibbon in the 34th Legislative District.


Seattle Times Editorial

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IN a state House race that features two Democratic candidates, incumbent Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon of Burien is the best choice in the 34th Legislative District. This area includes Vashon and Maury islands and West Seattle.

In office since 2010, Fitzgibbon is chair of the House Environment Committee, underscoring his deep understanding of the climate-change challenge.

As a member of the House Finance Committee, Fitzgibbon has misgivings about Initiative 1351, the November ballot measure that would require the state to find billions more in school funding on top of its obligation to as much as $4 billion by the 2017-2018 school year to meet the state Supreme Court’s McCleary school-financing ruling. Surprisingly, he has not made a public decision on how to vote. He should find the courage to say no, as fellow Seattle Democrats Judy Clibborn and Reuven Carlylehave done.

Challenger Brendan Kolding supports the initiative. The West Seattle man has a solid background in policymaking as a commissioned officer working on federal settlement issues within the Seattle Police Department, but he lacks basic knowledge of the state’s paramount duty to fund public education.

He is an unabashed supporter of private over public schools. His stated priorities include protecting private institutions from closure as charter schools open up and trying to pass a tax credit to help private schools take students out of the state’s K-12 system.

In this race, Fitzgibbon is better prepared to navigate the legislative process in a challenging budget year. But if elected to a third term, he should show more independence from his party.

Editorial board members are editorial page editor Kate Riley, Frank A. Blethen, Ryan Blethen, Sharon Pian Chan, Jonathan Martin, Erik Smith, Thanh Tan, Robert J. Vickers, William K. Blethen (emeritus) and Robert C. Blethen (emeritus).



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