Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: Maria Cantwell


Don’t threaten salmon habitat with huge Alaska mine

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Two foreign companies want to open an immense gold and copper mine in Alaska that would create 2,500 construction jobs and generate up to $180 million annually in taxes and royalties.

That’s great — for Alaska. But the Pebble Mine could harm West Coast salmon fisheries by threatening key Bristol Bay habitat. And that’s if everything goes right with the mine. If something were to go wrong, the effects would be devastating to a $500 million industry that provides full- and part-time jobs for more than 14,000 workers in commercial and native

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Give Maria Cantwell a third term in the U.S. Senate

Maria Cantwell

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

Democrat Maria Cantwell has a smart, respectable Republican challenger for her U.S. Senate seat – freshman state Sen. Michael Baumgartner of Spokane.

Baumgartner is particularly knowledgeable about Middle East policy, but he doesn’t make a good case for replacing the cerebral, hard-working incumbent. The News Tribune editorial board recommends that voters give Cantwell a third six-year term.

A former state legislator who served a term in the U.S. House, Cantwell was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2000 by defeating the incumbent, Slade Gorton. Since the economy went south, she has focused with laser-like intensity on creating jobs, helping business and pushing for Wall Street reforms.

Cantwell isn’t one for partisan bickering, instead working to educate her colleagues and build coalitions for legislation that is often more wonky than “sexy.” Prime examples are her efforts to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, an agency that helps finance exports of many manufacturers, including Boeing; to pass tax credits for employers who hire veterans; and to invest in freight and transportation infrastructure. Read more »


In these primaries, the best candidates are self-evident

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

We put a fair amount of work – interviews, homework, discussion – into most of our primary endorsements. In a few cases, we don’t have to.

We don’t interview or endorse statewide candidates who don’t have a major party behind them. We like the idea of electing a good maverick as much as anyone, but the odds only stretch so far. The days when George Washington could get elected by ladling out rum from town to town are long gone. If you don’t have a big organization and at least some money behind you, you can’t beat an opponent who does. Like it or not, that’s the way elections work.

Nor do we invest time in felons, cranks, vanity candidates, candidates who’ve invented their own parties, candidates whose statements are riddled with spelling errors, and other sure losers. Their names may appear on the ballot; that doesn’t make them viable candidates.

Here are three primary races in which the strongest Democratic and Republican candidates are self-evident:

• For the U.S. Senate, it’s incumbent Maria Cantwell and challenger Michael Baumgartner.

Cantwell we all know. Baumgartner is a state senator, former U.S. diplomat and economic development specialist.
They’re opposed by Mike the Mover, perennial pest Will Baker and several more respectable candidates with minimal or no experience in public office. Enough said.

• For governor, the only real choice is between Attorney General Rob McKenna and former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee.
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West Coast needs federal help with tsunami debris

A worker burns debris off a dock torn loose by the 2011 tsunami in Japan. The dock, covered with several invasive species, washed up June 5 on Agate Beach near Newport, Ore. (Oregon Parks and Recreation/The Associated Press)

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

West Coast states have been bracing for debris from Japan’s devastating March 2011 tsunami, and the vanguard is starting to arrive.

Objects ranging from soccer balls to a 65-foot-long floating dock have begun fetching up on beaches from Alaska to California. Just this week, kayakers looking for debris say they believe they found part of a Japanese house on an Olympic Peninsula beach.

It’s just the beginning. The main debris field is still far offshore, and flotsam is expected to keep washing up for years. Japanese officials estimate that 1.5 million tons of debris is floating in the Pacific Ocean; although some it will sink, much of it will end up on West Coast beaches. Read more »


Where are the women candidates?

Today’s centerpiece article on the opinion page about women candidates, “Don’t get mad, get elected,” got me wondering about the future of this state’s female leadership.

Washington has a woman governor and two women senators. The state Senate has a woman majority leader (Lisa Brown), and the state Legislature is full of women.

But now Brown has announced she’s not seeking re-election, and Gov. Chris Gregoire is stepping down, likely to be replaced by either Rob McKenna or Jay Inslee. If Sen. Marie Cantwell is defeated in November, the state will only have one woman elected statewide (Sen. Patty Murray). Read more »


Congress must help Quileutes escape tsunami threat

The Quileute Tribal School is located just yards away from the Pacific Ocean in the Quileute community of La Push. (Tony Overman/The Olympian)

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

The Quileute Tribal School in La Push is probably unrivaled for its scenic setting, looking out on crashing surf, islands and the kind of picturesque sea stacks that make photographers swoon.

But when the Cascadia subduction zone 80 miles offshore generates a massive earthquake – as it does every couple of hundred years, most recently in 1700 – it will almost surely create the kind of devastating tsunami that recently struck Japan after a similar subduction zone event.

And that schoolhouse – along with a senior center and homes on the Quileutes’ square-mile reservation – would be at ground zero. The ocean that makes La Push such a beautiful setting could be the death of it.
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Basic Health Plan: A pattern for the nation

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

It helps to have friends in high places.

When President Obama signed the new health care reform package March 23, he was also – thanks to U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell – throwing a lifeline to Washington’s 23-year-old effort to give medical insurance to the working poor.

That brave and pioneering effort is known as the Basic Health Plan. Originally conceived by U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott when he was a member of the state Senate, it ultimately attracted broad Republican support. When the Legislature transformed it from a pilot project to a permanent program in 1993, the vote was unanimous in both House and Senate.

Considering that the BHP was a pricey social welfare program that captured no matching federal dollars, that unanimity was as close to a miracle as you find in state politics.

The reason for the bipartisan support is worth revisiting in the bitter national argument over the new federal law. GOP lawmakers originally bought into the Basic Health Plan because it reflected fundamental, traditional principles of personal responsibility.
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Cantwell offers healthy Rx for Medicare

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

The fundamental dilemma of health care reform isn’t whether to adopt a public plan or extend coverage to the uninsured – important as those discussions are.

The core problem is how to stop squandering so much money on needless treatment that doesn’t help patients. If the dollars followed results instead of procedures and visits, there’d be better results and fewer wasted – and costly – procedures and visits.

If the waste were pared out of the system, it would be far easier to cover the uninsured, run a cost-effective public plan, help companies maintain coverage for their employees, offer affordable premiums to individuals, etc., etc. It all hinges on costs.

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