Inside Opinion

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Tag: Troy Kelley


Brian Sonntag leaves big shoes to fill as state auditor

Brian Sonntag

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

State Auditor Brian Sonntag is a big guy, but that’s not the only reason his successor has his work cut out for him if he hopes to fill his shoes.

A Democrat from Pierce County, Sonntag has been at least as popular among Republicans because of the nonpartisan way he’s run his office the last 20 years and his laser-like focus on government accountability.
Elected to statewide office in 1992 after serving as Pierce County’s auditor, he easily won re-election four times. His departure next week – to become chief financial officer at the Tacoma Rescue Mission – is being met widely with regret, a testament to his evenhandedness in the job.

If anyone’s not sorry to see him go, it’s those state and local officials who have been stung by his office’s audits or who take issue with how much more accountable and accessible he feels they should be to the public.
He has chided state lawmakers, for instance, for not being as open in their proceedings as local officials are required to be, for not giving the public enough time to comment on legislation and for introducing title-only bills – blank legislation whose details can be filled in later. These are all areas that his successor, Troy Kelley, should continue to press. Read more »


Dunn for attorney general, Watkins for auditor

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

With state Attorney General Rob McKenna running for governor and state Auditor Brian Sonntag retiring, voters have to fill their big shoes Nov. 6.

The attorney general contest presents a particularly tough choice. Democrat Bob Ferguson of Seattle and Republican Reagan Dunn of Maple Valley are about as evenly matched as two candidates could be. Both are moderate, personable attorneys who serve on the King County Council – Ferguson since 2003, Dunn since 2005.

They’re not far apart on most of the important issues, and both have shown independent streaks with their

Read more »


Our primary choices for attorney general, auditor

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

After two terms as attorney general, Rob McKenna is leaving in hopes of higher state office. Three men are running to replace him as the state’s top law enforcement official: Democrat Bob Ferguson and Republicans Reagan Dunn and Stephen Pidgeon. The top-two vote-getters in the Aug. 7 primary will meet in the Nov. 6 general election.

As the sole Democrat in the race, Ferguson is  virtually assured of being one of those two candidates. Even so, Democrats can vote for him without reservations. A bright, thoughtful attorney with a civil litigation background, he has served three terms on the King County Council. The Seattle resident will be a strong opponent in the general election for whichever Republican makes it through the primary.

Voters preferring a Republican candidate should choose Maple Valley resident Dunn – also a member of the King County Council. He has been a prosecutor and assistant U.S. attorney as well as a civil litigator.  Read more »


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 »


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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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.

Read more »