Inside Opinion

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Tag: Jim Kastama

July
15th

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 »

July
5th

Wyman and Kastama in secretary of state primary

Kim Wyman

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Democrats will remember a sinking feeling in 2000 when they discovered that the woman overseeing Florida’s presidential vote count – Secretary of State Katherine Harris – was a highly partisan Republican working for George W. Bush’s election.

Washington Republicans will remember their own suspicions after the 2004 governor’s race when they saw King County’s elections office – supervised by the Democratic county executive, Ron Sims – coming up with satchel after satchel of uncounted ballots that tilted toward Democrat Chris Gregoire.

The lesson: Hard-core partisanship and vote-counting are a dangerous mix. The legitimacy of close elections depends on public confidence that the people handling the ballots are honest brokers.

Jim Kastama

Example: The 2004 contest between Gregoire and Dino Rossi ended in a statistical tie. Her infinitesimal margin – 129 votes out of 2.9 million – was accepted in part because the statewide election was overseen by a soft-edged, even-handed Republican, Secretary of State Sam Reed, who had the trust of just about everybody.

This is why we favor Thurston County Auditor Kim Wyman and state Sen. Jim Kastama of Puyallup in the Aug. 7 primary for secretary of state.
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April
14th

Forced bipartisanship paid dividends in state budget

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

It took four months of dithering and denial, but the 2012 Legislature actually produced a respectable spending plan on Wednesday. With a few bonuses thrown in.

Creative political tension gets much of the credit.

The Legislature – with Democratic majorities controlling both chambers – initially seemed headed for a budget that promised to perpetuate a habit of unsustainable spending.

The House’s original plan included a play to spend some of the next biennium’s revenues in this biennium. This would have added hundreds of millions of dollars to any shortfall the 2013 Legislature might face – the very pattern of deferred reckoning that has left Washington with a perennial fiscal crisis.

Spenders also dominated the Democratic caucus in the Senate. But three fiscally conservative Democratic senators – including Jim Kastama of Puyallup – bolted, throwing their votes to the GOP caucus. With the help of these Road Kill Democrats, the Senate wound up passing a much more disciplined – if harsher – spending plan.

Gov. Chris Gregoire proved to be the catalyst that made the chemistry work. She mediated between Republicans and Democrats and demanded results. Plus, her office floated an arcane scheme that will allow the state to briefly claim ownership of sales tax collections before the money is be disbursed to local governments.

That creates a $238 million credit for the general fund ­– yet cities and counties won’t notice the difference. It’s as close as you get to magic. As many times as the state budget has been turned upside down and shaken for a few million bucks, it’s a wonder no one thought of this one before.
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