This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.
Two Democratic incumbents are hoping to keep their jobs in South King County’s 30th Legislative District, which includes Federal Way, Milton, Algona and Pacific. And what has been a safe Republican House seat – held by Skip Priest – is up for grabs.
When Priest announced he was stepping down to run for Federal Way mayor, it touched off the political equivalent of a feeding frenzy to replace him. Four Republicans and one Democrat vied in the August primary for what some in the district informally consider “the Republican seat.”
Voters chose well, advancing two strong candidates to face each other Nov. 2 – Republican Katrina Asay and Democrat Carol Gregory. The district can’t go wrong with either candidate, but we’re giving the edge to Asay because of her real-world experience in dealing with a public-sector budget in the toughest of times.
The next Legislature will have to make brutal choices – something Asay’s already had to do as mayor of Milton for the past seven years. She knows what it’s like to slash budgets and lay off workers – about 25 percent of city staff, with more possibly to come. And she knows what it’s like for local governments struggling to comply with regulations and mandates handed down by the Legislature.
Asay, who is also a real estate agent and tax preparer, has governance credentials beyond Milton city limits, having served eight years on the Puget Sound Regional Council.
Like Priest, she’s not a highly partisan Republican, which makes her a good fit for the moderate 30th. She’s a pragmatist who could work across the aisle to get things done for the district.
Gregory, a Federal Way resident and the founder and executive director of an anti-poverty nonprofit that focuses on job marketability, is a smart and capable candidate who would do a fine job if elected. But Asay’s experience in the budget trenches makes her the stronger choice.
For the Senate seat, incumbent Tracey Eide of Redondo has a strong challenger in Tony Moore, a businessman and president of the Federal Way School Board. In the August primary, the three-term senator only led Moore by 363 votes out of 21,727 cast in the race.
We think Eide deserves another term. She’s built up clout in the Senate as majority floor leader and is willing to plug away at issues until she gets results. She worked for 15 years on getting a simple majority to pass school levy measures and 10 years on the hands-free cell phone law.
A moderate, pro-business Democrat, she’s worked on such economic development issues as freight mobility and bringing a business incubator to the district.
Moore says he supports privatizing “everything” – including the ferry system. Although he opposes any education cuts and supports finding a stable source of K-12 funding, he says he would do that with no new revenue. And he’s vague on what else in the state budget he’d cut to keep K-12 harmless.
In the House Position 1 race, incumbent Democrat Rep. Mark Miloscia of Federal Way deserves a seventh term. Miloscia, a substitute teacher, has a deeply felt concern for the poor. But he’s also long been a champion of government efficiency, accountability and performance audits – even when hardly anyone in the Legislature wanted to hear his message. It’s finally resonating, and in his position as chairman of the Audit Review and Oversight Committee, he’s well-situated to encourage needed changes.
Miloscia’s Republican opponent, Shawn Sullivan of Federal Way, is a bright and thoughtful moderate who likely could work well across the aisle. A project manager with a commercial real estate construction company, he has a good feel for regulations’ impact on business.
Still, we think Miloscia has fought the good fight in his 12 years in the House, and voters should reward him with another term.
To read earlier endorsements, go here.