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Originally published Sunday, September 14, 2014 at 4:03 PM

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Editorial: The Times recommends Mark Miloscia, Linda Kochmar and Jack Dovey in 30th District

Mark Miloscia’s record of promoting state-government efficiency makes him the best candidate in the 30th District Senate race; Linda Kochmar for Pos. 1 and Jack Dovey for Pos. 2 also have the edge.


Seattle Times Editorial

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MARK Miloscia would be a standout candidate whichever party he chose. But his decision to switch sides and join Republican ranks this year makes his race for state Senate in the 30th Legislative District one of the most important contests of the season — among a handful that will determine which team controls the state Senate.

Yet, what matters more are the qualities of the candidates themselves. The Times recommends Miloscia over Democrat Shari Song. He has a 14-year record in the Legislature of promoting state-government efficiency.

Also on the ballot in the 30th District, which runs from Federal Way to Auburn, are two House positions. For those seats The Times recommends a pair of former Federal Way mayors — incumbent state Rep. Linda Kochmar, R-Federal Way, for Position 1, and Republican Jack Dovey for Position 2.

Miloscia made an important contribution to the Legislature during his long run in the House. He was a fierce advocate for lean programs and other efforts to improve management, accountability and outcomes. Among other things, he sponsored a 2005 bill ending a three-decade ban on performance audits by the state auditor, helping launch a program that arguably has helped the state save hundreds of millions. Citizens later approved Initiative 900, creating a funding stream for the audits.

In this tough upcoming budget year, Miloscia’s rigorous and analytical view toward state finances is exactly the sort of sharp pencil the Legislature will need.

Miloscia’s noteworthy opponent is Shari Song, a Korean-American businesswoman who mounted an unsuccessful bid for the Metropolitan King County Council last year.

Though more capable than many newcomers, Song does not display the same political independence or depth of understanding of the state’s fiscal problems. For instance, Song supports the Washington Education Association’s budget-busting Initiative 1351, which would require the hiring of 25,000 school-district employees at a time when the Legislature already is billions short of meeting its basic-education obligations. Miloscia does not support it.

In Position 1, Kochmar has established a moderate Republican voting record in her first term, strongly suggesting she would be amenable to the difficult compromises that should be negotiated by the Legislature’s political party leaders next session.

Meanwhile, in the Position 2 race, Dovey is challenging Democrat Roger Freeman, who made little splash during his freshman term. Dovey generally favors the fund-education-first policies of the Republican caucus but he draws no lines in the sand. His 14-year tenure on the Federal Way City Council points to an understanding of political give-and-take.

Most important, Miloscia, Kochmar and Dovey appear to have the critical-thinking skills, energy and independence that will be required in the grueling 2015 session.

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



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