For state Sen. Marilyn Rasmussen’s seat: challenger Kelly Mainard, R
For House Position 1: two Democrats – Ray Harper and Chuck Collins against incumbent Republican Rep. Jim McCune
For House Position 2: Incumbent Rep. Tom Campbell, R
Here’s our editorial:
Voters in the 2nd Legislative District don’t want for choices this year.
All three incumbents are facing challengers this year. That’s encouraging. The district, which encompasses Southeast Pierce County and parts of Thurston County and includes Spanaway, Orting, Eatonville and Yelm, could benefit from some fresh blood.
It is telling that someone like state Sen. Marilyn Rasmussen, a 22-year Democratic veteran of the Legislature, has attracted two strong Republican opponents.
Rasmussen has done a fine job of representing the interests of agriculture, but her rapidly changing district needs more from its senator. The editorial board didn’t endorse Rasmussen in 2004, and she hasn’t done anything since to change our minds.
Opposing her are Randi Becker, an Eatonville resident who retired from her job as a physcians’ group administrator last year, and Kelly Mainard, a Fredrickson school psychologist and community activist.
Both have the energy and personal skills to represent the district well, but of the two, Mainard is the better prepared. She was the driving force behind Washington’s law that got a key methamphetamine ingredient off store shelves, a move that helped lead to a sharp reduction in backyard meth labs.
Mainard has proved that she knows how to mobilize a community, identify solutions and navigate the legislative process. She is the Republican better suited to working across party lines to accomplish the district’s aims.
In the 2nd District’s two House positions, The News Tribune recommends keeping only one of the incumbents, Republican Rep. Tom Campbell.
The Roy chiropractor has shown an ability to work with the majority Democratic Party – to the point that it took the unusual move of giving him the chairmanship of the Select Committee on Environmental Health. His close working relationship with Democrats is a huge benefit for residents of his district.
Campbell helped secure money for a youth drop-in shelter in Spanaway and passed legislation requiring documentation of hospital-acquired infections and adverse events. If re-elected, he wants to secure funding for the cross-base highway and Yelm loop bypass and work on a health care buyer’s pool with California and Oregon to get more people insured.
Campbell has two Democratic opponents, Michael C. Powell of Puyallup and Rick Payne of Graham. Powell, a student and Army veteran, is a bright candidate who has the endorsement of the 2nd District Democrats. But Campbell is one of Pierce County’s most effective legislators, and he deserves a seventh term.
House Position 1 incumbent Republican Rep. Jim McCune of Graham is one of the least effective members of the South Sound delegation. He tends to be a strict party-line guy, and when your party is in the minority, that limits your ability to get things done.
Fortunately, 2nd District voters have good Democratic alternatives to McCune: former Eatonville Town Councilman Ray Harper and energy consultant Chuck Collins of Yelm. Either would be an improvement, and since the top two vote-getters will move on to the Nov. 4 general election, The News Tribune is endorsing both Democrats.
Harper, a Boeing welder with strong labor ties, is philosophically the better fit for the conservative-leaning district. But Collins is a real up-and-comer. He has only lived in the district for a year, but he is already knowledgeable about the challenges facing the area in transportation and energy. He’s been involved in writing energy legislation and would hit the ground running in the House.
A third Democrat in the race is JeanMarie Christenson of Rainier, who ran against McCune in 2006. Christenson, a retired life coach and psychotherapist, has been campaigning hard for the seat, and very well may be in the top two. But as the most liberal candidate in the field, she doesn’t seem a good fit for the 2nd District.