Inside Opinion

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Tag: mike carrell

June
2nd

Farewell, Sen. Carrell; hello (we hope) to Sen. Muri

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Few Pierce County lawmakers have grown as much in office as state Sen. Mike Carrell of Lakewood.

His death Wednesday deprived his 28th Legislative District of a distinguished legislator — and also deprived the Republican Party of a vote it needed to retain control of the Senate.

Carrell might not have been so widely missed in Olympia in the 1990s, after he was first elected to the House of Representatives. He charged into office as a hard-edged ideologue chiefly known for leading a campaign to reduce fathers’ child support obligations. He could be abrasive in dealing with people he disagreed with.

Even then, though, he proved capable of winning passage of a landmark law, the Becca Bill. Named after a 13-year-old runaway girl found beaten to death in Spokane, the law expanded the power of courts and parents to detain and rescue youths on a self-destructive trajectory.

The Becca Bill also transformed the state’s truancy policies, requiring fast intervention when students started to skip classes without excuses. It became the foundation of many different efforts to save minors from the streets. The law’s tough love was a big improvement on permissive 1970s policies that had bestowed upon kids the freedom to jump off cliffs.

By the time Carrell was appointed to the Senate in 2004, the hard edges were softening. Most notably, he collaborated with then-Sen. Debbie Regala — a Tacoma Democrat — to fix the way the state Department of Corrections released felons from prison.

Their “fair share” bill helped protect Pierce County from the state’s penchant for dumping ex-cons here — a practice that saddled the county with an intolerably high crime rate. The legislation also provided more assistance to those released inmates to help them transition to life outside prison.
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May
30th

Carrell was a staunch defender of his district

Our condolences to the family of state Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, who died Wednesday at age 69.

We always enjoyed talking with the straight-shooting lawmaker when he met with the editorial board. We didn’t always endorse him for election (mainly in his early years as a candidate), but we came to respect his gutsiness in fighting for his district, the 28th. His particular interest was in making sure Pierce County wasn’t the dumping ground for released convicts – a cause we strongly support.

I was looking back at our editorials and blog postings that mention Carrell and came across one

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Oct.
16th

Our endorsements in the 26th and 28th district legislative races

This editorial will run in Wednesday’s print edition.

Running for the Legislature in Washington’s 26th and 28th legislative districts is not for timid souls.

The two districts always feature spirited battles between Republicans and Democrats and routinely send candidates from both parties to Olympia. This year is not likely to be the exception.

The 26th encompasses the Gig Harbor Peninsula, the Key Peninsula and Port Orchard. Both House seats are contested.

• In Position 1, Rep. Jan Angel – a four-year veteran of the Legislature – is challenged by Karin Ashabraner of Gig Harbor, a board-certified middle school teacher active in the Peninsula Education Association.

This is a clean choice between a traditional Republican and a traditional Democrat. Angel is a small-business advocate who sounds like she’d rather have her fingernails torn out than raise taxes. Ashabraner won’t close the door on taxes, but – like almost all Democrats this year – prefers to talk about closing “loopholes” in the tax code.

Angel spent eight years as a Kitsap County commissioner before running for the house; her experience is a good reason to keep her. We aren’t persuaded that Ashabraner would be a trade up.

• Position 2 also offers a strong Republican, Doug Richards of Olalla, a battalion chief for the South Kitsap fire district.

But the incumbent Democrat, Rep. Larry Seaquist, is one of the best this region has elected to the Legislature.
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July
17th

Our endorsements in two 28th District legislative races

This editorial will appear in Wednesday’s print edition.

Republicans have been trying to reclaim House seats in the 28th Legislative District since 2004, with no success. They think that redistricting – and an open seat – might help them do it this time around.

The 28th – which stretches from West Tacoma through University Place and Lakewood to DuPont – was redistricted to pick up some of Joint Base Lewis-McChord and surrounding communities. That could make the district slightly more Republican-leaning.

Troy Kelley, the three-term Democratic incumbent in House Position 1, is vacating the seat to run for state auditor. Two Republicans are hoping to replace him – attorney Steve O’Ban of Tacoma and real estate agent Ken Campbell of University Place. They’re running in the Aug. 7 primary against Democrat Eric Choiniere, a customer service representative and member of the University Place City Council.

Since the top two vote-getters will advance to the Nov. 6 general election, Choiniere – as the sole Democrat – is virtually assured of making it through. Campbell is a solid candidate, but we think O’Ban would be the stronger opponent against Choiniere.
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June
3rd

Yet more cause to show Dale Washam the door

This editorial will appear in Monday’s print edition.

Incredibly, if one reads online comments, Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam still has supporters – apparently enough that he’s inspired to run for re-election despite costing taxpayers more than $1.4 million to handle and settle lawsuits against him and being found in violation of county ethics rules.

Perhaps the latest news will chip away at that support. On Friday, the U.S. Justice Department filed suit against the county after its year-long investigation found that Washam had violated the county employees’ civil rights (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act). He had retaliated against them after they complained about how he was running the assessor-treasurer’s office. Read more »