This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.
Many predict this will be a good year for Republicans, and the state party is hungry to reclaim the two 28th Legislative District House seats it lost to Democrats in recent years.
The 28th – which includes Lakewood, University Place, Fircrest, Steilacoom and part of West Tacoma – long leaned Republican. It still has a Republican state senator, Mike Carrell. But it elected Democrats Tami Green and Troy Kelley in 2004 and 2006 respectively. Both are vulnerable in this district this year.
Only one seat in the 28th Legislative District is contested in the Aug. 17 primary – House Position 2, held by Green, a Lakewood resident. Kelley faces a single opponent, attorney Steve O’Ban in the Nov. 2 general election.
Two Republicans are challenging Green: Lakewood police officer and police union president Brian Wurts of DuPont and Lakewood resident Paul Wagemann, a retired Marine aviator, real estate developer and member of the Clover Park School Board.
Green, a registered nurse and self-described “health care worker advocate,” looks like the strongest candidate in the field, and she gives Pierce County some clout in her leadership role as assistant majority floor whip. But for the many voters who want an alternative to the Democratic incumbent, we recommend Wurts – by a hair.
Wurts, a Lakewood native and Clover Park High School graduate, was one of the first officers hired by the Lakewood Police Department. His priorities include public safety issues, particularly better funding for community custody supervision. He takes a surprisingly tough approach to union contracts for someone who heads a union; to address the state’s budget deficit, he supports declaring an emergency and voiding contracts with state employee unions.
Wurts and his GOP opponent, Wagemann, have very similar conservative views on state spending, business regulations and taxes. One difference between the two is temperament. We think Wurts is a more flexible, “shades-of-gray” thinker who would likely work better across the aisle. He’d mount a vigorous challenge to Green in November.
To read earlier endorsement editorials, click here.