Inside Opinion

What's on the minds of Tacoma News Tribune editorial writers

NOTICE: Inside Opinion has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Inside Opinion.
Visit the new section.

Tag: Dawn Morrell


The Puget Sound Gateway needs heroes in Olympia

This editorial will appear in Sunday’s print edition.

Take a good look at the list in the next post.

Those 24 lawmakers have the power to create nearly 100,000 jobs and keep Pacific Rim shipping pouring into Puget Sound through the 21st century.

Yet those same lawmakers could also help forfeit 100,000 jobs. For lack of interest or courage, they could allow the ports of Tacoma and Seattle to become backwaters of maritime commerce — which supports more than 200,000 livelihoods.

The decision before these South Sound legislators is whether to throw their combined weight behind the Puget Sound Gateway to secure its passage in the special session of the Legislature.

The Gateway is a $1.8 billion project that would extend state Route 167 from Puyallup to the Port of Tacoma, state Route 509 from Sea-Tac Airport to Interstate 5 and build strategic interchanges to create a transportation super-corridor in Pierce and King counties.

It’s an expensive project: Highways don’t come cheap. Regardless, the future of the ports of Tacoma and Seattle, the preservation of jobs, the expansion of payrolls, and the efficiency of Interstate 5 all depend on passage of the $1.8 billion Gateway project.

Because it will require gas taxes and tolls, the Legislature won’t touch it in 2014, an election year. And there’s no reason to believe it will pass in 2015 if it can’t pass this year. Business and labor organizations are pulling together to get it to the governor’s desk as part of a larger transportation package.

But so far, there has been no corresponding push from what might be called the Pierce County caucus. (We’re including the three lawmakers from the 30th District in the Federal Way area.)
Read more »


Our choices for the 2nd and 25th legislative districts

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Politically, Pierce County’s 2nd and 25th legislative districts look red and purple. The November election will tell us just how red and how purple.

The 2nd is rural and conservative. It encompasses a strip of East Thurston County, including Yelm, and an enormous swath of southeast Pierce County, including Eatonville and Mount Rainier.

The district’s Senate seat is now held by Republican Randi Becker of Eatonville, who ousted Democrat Marilyn Rasmussen four years ago. She has a strong Democratic challenger in Bruce Lachney of Eatonville – a farmer, retired airline pilot and former member of the Eatonville School Board.

He’d be a fine state senator. We’re inclined to stick to Becker, a retired medical clinic administrator, who’s now had four years of experience in this office and has seen some successes despite being in the Senate minority.

The state redistricting commission gave the district a windfall last year when it drew state Rep. Gary Alexander out of the 20th and into the 2nd.
Alexander, a career budget manager who now works as Thurston County’s deputy auditor of finance, is the senior Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee.

He’s a bulldog, and his influence will serve the area well. His Democratic opponent, Greg Hartman of Graham, should be thanked for making this a contest, but Alexander is the clear choice in this race for Position 1.

Speaking of competition, Republican J.T. Wilcox has none in Position 2.
Read more »


Our choices in 2nd and 25th District legislative races

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Democrats have their work cut out for them if they hope to win back seats in two Republican-leaning East Pierce County legislative districts.

Even the fact that the D’s have two standout candidates might not be enough. In recent years, the 2nd and 25th districts’ legislative seats have gone almost all Republican, with the only Democrat remaining being the 25th’s Jim Kastama. He’s running for secretary of state instead of for re-election to his Senate seat, so the two districts might turn completely Republican in November.

• In the 2nd District, incumbent Republican state Sen. Randi Becker of Eatonville is seeking a second term. She’s being challenged by another Republican, James E. Vaughn of Orting. In 2008, Vaughn ran as a Democrat against Congressman Dave Reichert. Read more »


The 25th district should send Dammeier, Morrell back to Olympia

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Incumbency has become a dirty word in some circles this year. We hope that’s not the case in the 25th Legislative District, whose two sitting House representatives are among the region’s best lawmakers.

In the 25th – the Puyallup area – state Rep. Bruce Dammeier is running for a second term in Position 1. Dammeier, a Puyallup Republican, is one of the South Sound’s strongest new legislators.

A Naval Academy graduate, he been a volunteer leader in many community organizations and institutions, including Good Samaritan Hospital and the Mel Korum YMCA. He served on the Puyallup School Board from 2001 to 2009.

Dammeier is a smart, congenial conservative with a keen interest in public education. He’s precisely the kind of presence this area needs in the House Republican caucus.

His Democratic opponent, John Thompson of Edgewood, has had an exceptional career as a union negotiator, local president and leader of the Pierce County Central Labor Council. Like the incumbent, he’s has an impressive record of community service. We just don’t think there’s a case for replacing Dammeier.
Read more »


Republican vs. Republican in the 25th District

Steve Vermillion, an unsuccessful Republican candidate for the House in the 25th district, is breaking the GOP’s 11th commandment – “Thou shalt not speak ill of another Republican.” In this (condensed) email missive, he tells us why he’s endorsing the Democratic incumbent, Dawn Morrell, instead of the Republican who beat him in the August primary, Hans Zeiger:

In hopes that a “mystery box” of missing ballots would appear with sufficient votes to move me into second place, my hopes were extinguished with my wife’s reminder that we lived in Pierce not King County and the likelihood of missing votes appearing was slim to none.

Zeiger asked for my endorsement, which I declined to give him. Early on, I told the folks in the Pierce County GOP that I had no intention of supporting him should be win in the primary as I do not think he is remotely qualified to be in the Legislature.

I have been asked to at least remain neutral, which were my plans until Zeiger recently moved into his cover-up mode by working to delete many of his controversial writings. I expect that he is working on his “dishonorable” scout badge for the next level of his scouting adventures.
Read more »


In the 25th: Dawn Morrell and Steve Vermillion

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

Maybe the citizens of the 25th District are unusually public-spirited, or maybe Democrats just look like easy prey this year. Five – count ’em, five – candidates have stepped up to challenge the Democratic incumbent, Dawn Morrell, in House Position 2.

Morrell’s Republican seatmate in Position 1, meanwhile, has drawn only a single challenger. State Rep. Bruce Dammeier’s race against Democrat John Thompson will be decided in the November election.

The oddest sub-contest in Position 2 is between Morrell and her ostensibly Democratic challenger, Ron Morehouse of Spanaway.

Morehouse ran two years ago as a Republican, and his very conservative positions would place him toward the rightward edge of the GOP. A Central Pierce fire commissioner, he won election last year to the Bethel School Board. He’s been a disappointment in that position, and his opposition to his district’s vital February school levy left many citizens angry.

Morrell, four-term House veteran, has done well as a lawmaker since she was elected eight years ago. Fellow Democratic lawmakers have recognized her leadership ability and chosen her as caucus chairwoman, making her the Pierce County delegation’s highest-ranking legislator in the House.
Read more »