Your ballot arrived. But you did not immediately fill it out and cast it back into the mail. Something’s holding you back.
It’s a big ballot, with big issues that are hugely important to the nation and the region. Perhaps our brief guide can assist you with casting your ballot.
The most important job of a district representative is to represent his or her district.
Perhaps it seems a bit silly and obvious to note that, but after two years of radical obstruction and gridlock in Olympia—brought on by extremist social conservatives determined to grind public policy to a halt—the axiom should be foremost in
voters’ minds: What has your representative done for you lately?
Cooperation is hard work, and it yields benefits to taxpayers in the form of efficient, well managed government.
Perhaps no candidate better illustrates the axiom better than Kevin Ranker. One of the most gifted andmaccomplished of the state’s junior senators, Ranker was pushing bills through Olympia against unprecedented obstruction and yet—ultimately—with broad, bipartisan support.
That’s because his proposed laws were wise and sensible—environmental protections for Puget Sound, critical tax reforms for small businesses, and measures to strengthen renewable energy projects and a green economy. He is firm in his support for women’s health, family planning and social justice.
“Creating jobs, building our economy, protecting the environment, saving critical public services and programs for the needy and being a tireless advocate for education, equality and women’s rights—these are accomplishments that have defined my first term,” Ranker said.
Another accomplished representative who did what she promised: Focus with tireless energy on education and public schools.
Third parties, which inform and revitalize our democracy, can only flourish at the local level. The only Green Party candidate on the local ballot, Pellet supports limits on corporate personhood and a community bill of rights similar to one considered by Bellingham earlier this year. Go Green!
Perhaps no candidate illustrates the opposite of effective representation more than Jason Overstreet. It is difficult to convey what a waste of oxygen that insufferable windbag is in Olympia, with his tricorner tinfoil hat and idiotic fixations on the fever swamps of the far right. While others were proposing laws to help farms and businesses, Overstreet was exploring monetary theories of the 18th century. What has he done for his district other than, as the Bellingham Herald noted, wave conspiracy pamphlets and obstruct a functioning government? Please, voters,
get rid of this useless clown.
Natalie McClendon is measured and reasonable. She will propose legislation of benefit to her district.
“I see no value in taking an ‘us versus them’ approach to problem-solving,” McClendon said. “We need people committed to fresh ideas in Olympia. And we have to work together—business, community groups, ordinary people—to create smart, efficient, and fair government policies and programs that help us all in the long run. I say, let’s get to work!”
By contrast with Overstreet, Vincent Buys did introduce legislation intended to assist family farms and small business. Where Overstreet fumed and foamed, Buys went quietly about his work. He reached respectfully across the aisle to work with Democrats on issues he cared about. He was a good representative of the values of the 42nd District. We like Vincent Buys!
Matt Krogh, however, brings a higher understanding of the importance of the area’s natural resources—its shorelines and harbors. He promises much greater attention on perhaps the most important issue to Whatcom County, the proposed coal pier at Cherry Point. His stewardship and knowledge are needed in Olympia.
“The proposed Gateway Pacific coal terminal at Cherry Point would worsen water supply and quality problems, demand millions of gallons of Nooksack River water every day, interfere with herring spawning and crab and salmon fishing, and cost hundreds of millions in taxpayer subsidies in unneeded rail improvements—tax dollars that would be better spent on protecting local jobs and fully funding education,” Krogh said.
“The aquatic highways of the Salish Sea are all part of an economic engine driving tourism, fisheries, shellfish, recreation, and ecosystem services; we shouldn’t choke them up with a massive increase in accident-prone bulk coal carriers. As your representative, I will go to Olympia and fight to protect our fisheries and farms and ensure that everyone has access to the water they need.”
Whatcom County is fortunate to have two excellent, well-qualified candidates for Superior Court. We’ve no doubt Dave Grant would make an excellent judge. He already is one! He and his colleagues have introduced a number of innovations into district court. He experimented with a night court. He makes the excellent point in his campaign that most of the court
concerns criminal law, with which he has broad experience. And while he has been innovative in criminal court, he also has lengthy experience in land-use law and in adjudicating government affairs.
But we are persuaded by the argument the court needs to look more like the community it serves. Beyond that, Garrett is gifted and measured. Her experience in civil law—representing businesses, agencies and working people—is a welcome and needed addition to the court. She was unanimously endorsed by the past presidents of the Whatcom Bar Association.
That speaks highly of her capacity.
A change-up for the PUD, Stone brings a renewed focus on water and energy issues for rural Whatcom County. Endorsed by Washington Conservation Voters.
There’s a saying in politics: “The Candidate campaigns. The Candidate is elected. The Caucus governs.”
Which is a way of saying that no matter how much we may like a candidate as an individual and clear thinker, the Groupthink of his party will dominate his policies. Rob McKenna strikes us as a mild, reasonable sort… driven much further to the right by his party’s extremism but also far less likely to resist that extremism in office.
Inslee holds the important veto power over the Legislature. He literally wrote the book on the state’s clean energy future. Perhaps the strongest environmental advocate in Congress, Inslee will help champion state policy in response to climate change and the protection and restoration of Puget Sound.
Goldmark is the other critical vote for Whatcom County residents. Head of the Dept. of Natural Resources and steward of the state’s forest lands and shorelines, Goldmark is an indispensible voice in the siting of the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point. His record on sustainable forestry practices and the restoration of Puget Sound are sterling.
“We have nearly doubled the number of aquatic reserves along Puget Sound and finally created a management plan for the Cherry Point Aquatic Reserve, which had languished for many years,” Goldmark said. “The aquatic reserve program promotes the preservation, restoration, and enhancement of state-owned aquatic lands that are of special educational, scientific, or environmental interest. Through these efforts, we can protect critical marine environments and habitat for
the species that depend on them.”
He and Inslee will make a fine team.
In our view, everything a conservative should be on the natural resources that are key to the state’s vitality. Pro-choice, supports gay rights. Endorsed by advocates of effective government from across the political spectrum, he brings a reasoned quality we need more of in Olympia.
Similarly a non-zealot in the application of state law, with a focus on strengthening protections for Puget Sound, farmland and open space.
Strongly opposes the Citizens United decision and efforts to suppress voting. Technically brilliant, she will advance the state’s innovations in balloting and elections.
Despite a regressive and dysfunctional tax code coupled by obstruction after obstruction by Eyman-led initiatives, McIntyre has helped ensure Washington holds one of the strongest financial positions in the United States. Where other states struggled with insolvency, he actually improved the state’s credit rating.
With health care in the balance in the national election, Kreidler lends an important stability to the state response. He is committed to providing health care to more than one million people at risk in Washington.
Our support for this man is full-throated and unequivocal. He took office in one of the most challenging periods of the past 50 years, with two wars abroad and the nation in catastrophic financial collapse. More, Republicans vowed to obstruct him at every opportunity as their means to reseize the White House.
He stopped the freefall collapse of the economy he inherited. Pressed for a national health care program championed by conservatives just a few years earlier, an achievement that had eluded a dozen Administrations. Ended our engagement in Iraq on schedule. Directed the end of discrimination in the military. Supported the DREAM Act. Restored America’s prestige abroad.
He has more to do.
Do not underestimate the power of the presidential veto to override an increasingly radical Congress bent on transforming this country into something unrecognizable. Do not undrestimate his authority to appoint the next justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Elect this man.
When she’s finally had enough of the crap, Maria is one of the fiercest asskickers in the United States Senate, a wonder to behold. And she’s been in there long enough to acquire some pretty heavy boots. We need her!
’Member what we said about representing one’s district? Republican John Koster made a name for himself by being one of the meanest obstructionsists in Olympia. Send him to D.C. and you can expect him to immediately team with the tea party caucus to end Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as we know it.
Suzan DelBene is a moderate, with extensive private- sector business experience. She will work for the interests of her district. She will help the people of Whatcom County in the nation’s capital.
Ditto for Larsen versus the extremist running to replace him.
Creates a resource to effectively respond to a reality that will not otherwise go away: How to provide housing to lower income families in a community with high home costs, including those with disabilities, veterans, seniors and families with children. Creates a money pool that can jump-start construction and therefore create jobs.
The home fund achieves many of Bellingham’s community goals, including smart growth—by directing affordable housing into urban areas, ending the “drive ’til you qualify” sprawl into rural lands—and sustainable development, by creating a resource pool for innovative types of housing. A vital component to creating the kind of community we want to share.
Vote YES on Prop. One
In a sense, these measures are interrelated.
Fifteen years ago, Tim Eyman built a lucrative career for himself by placing tax limits on the Washington state ballot year after year. Voters approve them. The Legislature never directly opposes them, but finds ways around them that make state (and local) finances and budgets more cumbersome and less transparent. The burden shift is regressive, which means lower and middle incomes bear even greater portions of the cost, and the hands of lawmakers are tied by supermajority requirements from advancing any change to the tax code.
Vote NO on I-1185
Perhaps the most devastating cost of years and years of tax revolt and inability of the Legislature to respond is in the area of public schools, so it is small wonder an initiative comes forward to create a private hybrid of public schools. But they will compete for the same scarce public dollars and will actually worsen the prospects to reform public schools by vacuuming energy and resources from them.
Vote NO on I-1240
Similarly, these measures share common aspects of social justice.
As the architects of our system of government noted two centuries ago, human rights are not a matter to be dictated by tyrants or referendum. They are “self evident.” Our very system of government, with its checks and balances, is designed to protect the interests of minorities and prevent them from being overrun by the “tyranny of the majority.”
In January, Democrats and Republicans alike supported an expansion of the state’s domestic partnership law to include the full rights of marriage for same-sex couples. The state, they argued, really has no interest in telling people how they should live their lives. The state should not dabble in private or spiritual matters, they reasoned, and should not treat classes of people differently from other classes. The law is fundamentally conservative, in restricting the power of government to discriminate.
In November, voters have an opportunity to support the decision of their elected leaders, making Washington the first state to affirm by popular referendum a basic human right.
Vote YES on R-74
If there is a single thing liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans alike might agree on, it is that the “War on Drugs” is perhaps the greatest public policy failure of the past 50 years.
Every state thinks something new should be tried. Washington just happens to be the boldest of them, but other states will follow.
Initiative 502 would decriminalize simple possession of marijuana, freeing police and the courts to concentrate on other matters of public safety. It would help clear overcrowded jails and lower those costs for taxpayers. Equally important, it would create clarity for the production and distribution of marijuana, including licensing and taxes that could generate up to $530 million in new revenues for public investments.
Perhaps most notably, I-502 would force the federal government to revisit moribund policy on marijuana. Its passage forces a change that is desperately needed.
Vote YES on I-502
Limits the amount of money the state can borrow for construction projects. The state needs more flexibility here, not less.
Senate Joint Resolution 8223
Allows state schools more latitude to invest in markets and private companies. Given the terrible condition of funding for education in Washington, probably a necessary risk.
The Legislature asks for guidance in closing a tax loophole that benefits out-of-state banks. The Legislature was all over the map on this, with Republicans and Democrats voting for and against it. Your vote in support will likely continue their discussion.
MAINTAIN SB 6635
The Legislature voted to improve fuel tank safety. Jason Overstreet was the only nincompoop in Olympia who opposed it, which is probably all you need to know.
MAINTAIN HB 2590
Vote YES, Expand the Commission
A school will close.
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A new park takes shape along the city’s central waterfront.
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