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Originally published September 29, 2014 at 4:35 PM | Page modified October 1, 2014 at 11:18 AM

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Editorial: The Times recommends Judy Clibborn and Tana Senn in the 41st District

The 41st Legislative District is well served by incumbent Reps. Judy Clibborn and Tana Senn.

Seattle Times Editorial

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Clibborn is the Transportation Committee head. Roads and transit financing and megaprojects around here are FUBAR. ... MORE
As a wing of the Democrat Party I would have been shocked to see the Seattle Times endorse anything but a Democrat. MORE
Didn't Clibborn vote for the Commute Trip reduction law? That is reason enough to not vote for her. MORE


VOTERS of the 41st Legislative District, which hugs the Interstate 90 corridor from Mercer Island to Lake Sammamish, have a strong pair of state representatives in Judy Clibborn and Tana Senn. They easily earn two more years in the Nov. 4 election.

Clibborn and Senn, both Democrats, are informed and thoughtful independents on core issues. They appreciate their district’s need for vibrant schools, coherent transportation planning and progressive social policy.

In House Position 2, Clibborn, who has represented the district since 2003, is the House Democratic caucus’ lead on transportation issues. She worked diligently over the past three years to pass a much-needed transportation investment package.

Although the Legislature hasn’t done so yet, Clibborn’s leadership style — focusing on practical, nonideological deal making — has kept the discussion alive. When the Legislature eventually passes a package, Clibborn should get a star turn.

She has a clear-eyed and independent view of the daunting challenges in education. She believes the Legislature should have changed state law to keep the waiver under the federal No Child Left Behind law. That would have allowed school districts to retain control of about $40 million in federal remedial-education funding. She also calls Initiative 1351, a class-size reduction measure on the fall ballot, “irresponsible” because it obligates Washington to billions more in education without identifying a funding source.

Her registered opponent, Alex O’Neil, does not appear to be campaigning.

Senn, a Mercer Island City Council member, was appointed in 2013 to fill a vacancy in the district’s Position 1. She has hit the ground running. She is fully informed about the Legislature’s challenge funding the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision on K-12 education funding. She understands that more money must fund better outcomes, and that a larger state role in early learning is needed. She shares Clibborn’s skepticism on I-1351.

Senn was a board member of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle at the time of the 2006 murder of a staff member by a mentally ill man. She is an effective advocate for better mental-health care and gun control.

Her opponent, Bill Stinson, a 21-year-old Republican, is a college student lacking the experience and knowledge base to yet be a serious candidate.

The 41st District should stay the course with its incumbents and return Reps. Judy Clibborn and Tana Senn to Olympia.

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

Information in this article, originally published Sept. 29, 2014, was corrected Sept. 30, 2014. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that state Rep. Tana Senn is a former Mercer Island City Council member. She still holds that position.

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