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Originally published September 18, 2014 at 4:56 PM | Page modified September 23, 2014 at 2:16 PM

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Editorial: The Times recommends Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Reuven Carlyle and Gael Tarleton in the 36th District

In the 36th Legislative District, voters should re-elect Democrats Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Reuven Carlyle and Gael Tarleton.

Seattle Times Editorial

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Unsurprising endorsements, given whom they've been serving. Jeanne Kohl-Welles was on the Seattle Popular Monorail... MORE
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AFTER 20 years in the state Senate, Jeanne Kohl-Welles shows no signs of fatigue and a steady determination to represent the 36th Legislative District. Same goes for fellow Democrats Reuven Carlyle and Gael Tarleton, state representatives in Position 1 and Position 2. None of the incumbents drew a challenger that made the case to replace them.

The breadth of these incumbents’ knowledge of the legislative process matters heading into a tough session that will be focused on solutions to the state’s school-funding challenge.

Kohl-Welles is a key voice on a variety of issues, from protecting higher-education funding and overseeing government performance audits, to regulating medical-marijuana dispensaries and combating the horrific sex trafficking of minors.

She is responsive to her liberal district, which includes Seattle neighborhoods such as Ballard, Queen Anne, Magnolia, Fremont and Greenwood.

Republican nurse and political activist Sarina Forbes has made a solid effort to challenge Kohl-Welles, but she needs to strengthen her civic résumé.

Forbes has unwisely signed an anti-tax, small-government pledge for the Republican Liberty Caucus, as well as other pledges. Making such promises weakens her insistence she can be an independent voice.

Carlyle of Queen Anne is chair of the House Finance Committee and one of the caucus’ most prominent thinkers on tax and revenue policy.

He is running for his fourth term against an inactive challenger, Leslie Klein, who identifies himself as a member of the Republicanspirit Party. Carlyle beat Klein with 88 percent of the vote in 2012.

Few other lawmakers match Carlyle’s enthusiasm for demanding increased transparency from corporations that receive massive tax breaks. This is an intriguing idea that should be on the table especially as budget-writers struggle to meet the state Supreme Court’s McCleary order for billions more to be invested in K-12 education by 2018.

Kohl-Welles and Carlyle have enough institutional knowledge to call out an unrealistic ballot measure sponsored by the teachers’ union. Both are voting no on Initiative 1351 because it would complicate the Legislature’s priorities. Though both support smaller class sizes, they recognize this is already a McCleary ruling requirement for younger grades.

Tarleton is surprisingly defensive in her support of I-1351.

Her opponent, libertarian Paul Addis, is opposed to the initiative and supports more reforms before additional money is thrown into an education system that has produced lopsided outcomes for children.

However, Addis is married to concepts and lacks Tarleton’s experience crafting policy as a former Port of Seattle commissioner and freshman legislator. Her familiarity with the state’s aerospace and maritime industries is important and gives her the edge for endorsement. Tarleton should not be afraid to flex more of her political independence in a second term, as her seatmates have done.

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).

Information in this article, originally published Sept. 18, 2014, was corrected Sept. 23, 2014. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Sarina Forbes had signed more than one anti-tax, small-government pledge, including one for the Freedom Foundation. The Freedom Foundation pledge was not related to taxes or smaller government.

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