Inside Opinion

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

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Tag: Steve O’Ban

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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Oct.
12th

For the 28th Legislative District: Green and Kelley

This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.

This is a Republican year, and the 28th Legislative District – which has a long history of sending Republicans to Olympia – has two incumbent Democrats on the ballot. The rest of the state is watching.

The race for Position 1 in the state House of Representatives pits Rep. Tami Green, a Lakewood Democrat, against Lakewood Republican Paul Wagemann. Both are candidates of intelligence and integrity.

Wagemann had a long career in military aviation and now works as a real estate developer; he’s also served on the Clover Park School Board since 2009. Green, a registered nurse, has served in the Legislature since 2004 and has risen to the leadership position of assistant floor leader.

This is a tough decision; both Wagemann and Green have flaws to match their strengths.

In Wagemann’s case, it’s a matter of temperament: He comes across as rigid in his approach to issues and may be inclined toward simple solutions to the fiendishly complex fiscal problems the Legislature now faces. His “no-way, no-how” stance on new taxes, for example, is a crowd-pleaser – but it categorically bars any degree of revenue expansion to avert what could be catastrophic reductions in assistance to the state’s most distressed citizens.

Green’s problem is her iron-plated fealty to the state’s public unions. The Legislature will face a multibillion-dollar budget shortfall when it convenes in January. No conceivable tax package could fill that hole, which means that the preservation of existing benefits for state workers would probably come at the expense of the mentally ill, the disabled, the poor and others who survive with the help of state support. Read more »

Oct.
5th

Labor forgives some Democrats, still snubs others

The Washington State Labor Council is out with its updated endorsements for the Nov. 2 general election, reversing some primary election snubs of Democrats not considered sufficiently pro-union. Among the newly endorsed are Rep. Dawn Morrell in the 25th District, Sen. Derek Kilmer and Rep. Larry Seaquist in the 26th, Rep. Steve Kirby in the 29th and Sen. Tracey Eide in the 30th.

But some snubs persist. The labor council still won’t endorse Rep. Chris Hurst (who calls himself an “Independent Democrat”) in the 31st District. And even though the council won’t endorse Rep. Troy Kelley in the 28th,

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Aug.
18th

No election-night blood bath, just some slow bleeds

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition.

If Washington voters are mad, they largely kept it to themselves this election.

The anti-incumbent fever supposedly sweeping the nation didn’t materialize in any big way Tuesday night. With few exceptions, incumbency conferred its usual advantages as sitting politicians enjoyed healthy leads.

But the armor wasn’t without some chinks. A number of Democratic state senators appear to be in trouble – and some experts read signs of distress in the returns for U.S. Senate and the state’s only open congressional seat.

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