Monday, October 25, 2004

The Jeff Recommends: Minor State Offices

I’m real tempted to act like Bill Murray giving Oscar picks – sweeping the board aside and saying – “Who really cares?” Well, we do, mostly, so here goes. And, as a surprise, not all the picks are Democrats!

For Lieutenant Governor, I support Libertarian candidate Jocelyn Langlois Why? Because she wants to get rid of the position (which is not even a heart-beat away from the Governorship).

For Secretary of State, I’m going with incumbent Republican Sam Reed (yeah, I’ll get mail on this). Reed tried to keep the blanket primary when his own party was trying to take it away and he’s supported a paper trail for electronic voting. Yes, his opponent Laura Ruderman is making an issue of his big state-purchased car. Don’t care. Let’s reward good performance in the hopes the GOP will find more like him.

State Treasurer – OK, I’m going Bill Murray on this one. I don’t know, and there hasn’t been enough of a stink to make me do the research. Mike Murphy is the incumbent, and as long as he doesn’t flee to the Grand Caymans, I can support him.

State Auditor – This SHOULD be another Bill Murray moment, but it isn’t because the Republicans REALLY screwed up, and need your help. Here’s the story (promised from an earlier entry): The Libertarian Party is a major party in Washington State (which means you get in the voting books, primaries and other perks). It is a major party because it gets over 5% of the vote for a candidate for a statewide office. In years previous, the State GOP didn’t run candidates in all the offices, which meant the candidates were a Dem and a Lib. So getting 5% wasn’t that tough.

This year, the State GOP decided to run someone in EVERY OFFICE, hoping to deny the Libertarians the Major Party status. So for State Auditor, they got a guy named Will Baker.

And then found out that he’d been arrested 19 times for disrupting meetings. And that his main platform is investigating the death of Crystal Braeme, who was shot by her husband, Tacoma Police Chief David Braeme. Some have noted that the this not part of the State Auditor’s job. Oh, and a superior court judge had to rule against him putting accusations in the voter’s handbook that the FBI was covering up the death.

In short, they had picked a horrible candidate for the office and could not get rid of him.

So, Brian Sontagg, Democrat, deserves your vote, is very popular and capable, and should win. But, if you cannot bring yourself to vote Democratic, please, please, vote for Libertarian Jason Bush. The State GOP promises they will think things through next time.

Attorney General – Deborah Senn. Liked her as State Insurance Commisioner, liked her when she ran against Sidhran, liked her when the US Chamber of Commerce went after her. Showing that people never learn their lessons, another out-of-state group is planning anti-Senn campaign ads for the closing days of the campaign. That should put her over the top. Her opponent, while competent, makes no bones about being pro-business, and that’s not what I want in an AG.

Commissioner of Public Lands – And while we’re on the subject, how about a Commissioner that ISN’T in the pocket of Big Timber? Mike Cooper has the background, experience and knowledge for the job. Go vote for him.

Insurance Commissioner – Deborah Senn is a hard act to follow, but I’m going for Mike Kriedler. He’s a Dem. That’s why. Not good enough? OK, my cat me told. Better?

Superintendent of Public Instruction – I’m torn on this one. This position has turned into a debate on the WASL (Washington Assessment of Student Learning) testing. I support student testing, but don’t believe we should tie it to school funding (in particularly the woefully unfunded “No Child Left Behind” act). Incumbent Terry Bergeson is pro-WASL, Judith Billings, who held the job previously, wants to re-evaluate the process. I lean towards Judith Billings, but both women take our educational system dead-serious. If you have kids, check out the issues –there is a difference.

More later,