Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Political Desk: 47th State Legislature

We delve down deeper, and as we do so, what we find affects fewer and fewer people, but those people are closer and closer to home. Everyone in the state has a direct interest in the Senatorial race. Fewer people are in the 8th, though those results will have a direct result on a larger whole. And fewer still are in our district, the 47th, which includes parts of Kent, Auburn, Renton, a hunk of still-unincorporated King County, Black Diamond, and Covington, and is about as local as we're going to get this year.

All three of our legislative slots open at the same time. I don't understand it either, but it does, with the result that we have the regular shot of reviewing and replacing. We open up on the State Senator slot, Joe Fain versus Claudia Kauffman.

Joe Fain started the race early with mailers to introduce himself to the voting community, and in his statement wastes no time in laying directly into his opponent. She is responsible for spending 800 million dollars in new taxes (for very broad values of the word "Taxes"). Bad politician - spending money. She is also responsible to larger class sizes. Bad politician - not spending money on our kids! Take a look at this double-whammy, incumbents. Yeah, you're expected to provide a balanced budget, and then made to pay the price for it.

Claudia Kaufmann is said incumbent in this case, and has her defenses up. She voted against higher taxes (The same taxes her opponent accuses her of spending? It is possible both are saying the same thing with different definitions). She puts in a personal story of her own cost-cutting (no reimbursement in special session). You get a better idea of the person running here, but I'm not sure if that will withstand the hammering.

For State Rep Slot #1, the current situation makes me said, since it is an example of the first law of the manifesto - Don't embarrass us. Geoff Simpson is the incumbent, and has been a strong progressive voice. He also has been engaged in a very messy personal life, which has resulted in a charge of gross misdemeanor assault in connection with a domestic violence incident. Mr. Simpson has been very up front about his situation, and has not sought to hide or sugar-coat. The fact remains, he is up on a charge, and if other candidates' personal lives are basis for decision (George Nethercutt's DUI charge comes to mind), then so too it should be in this case. He is challenged by two Republicans.

Nancy Wyatt packs a good resume, the type you look for in State Legislatures. She gets the Very Good rating from the Municipal League. Her problem? First line of her statement - "It's time to say no to the failed policies of our current elected officials!" The problem is, in Washington State and elsewhere, there has been too much saying no, and not enough viable plans. Pull that together and she's a strong contender.

Geoff Simpson's statement is short and sweet - all the progressive good stuff (transparent but frugal government) leavened with a bit of tough on crime, and the hot-button issue in our neck of the woods - traffic congestion (no, I'm not making this up). The Munis usually give him a Very Good, but have dropped him to a Adequate this time, likely because of his current legal situation.

Mark Hargove also goes short and sweet - much more of an introduction of the man as opposed to his politics. He was a lot more detailed in the 2008 campaign, but that was hard-fought all around, and may be looking a more accessible approach this time. Much of it is the boilerplate you see elsewhere (help small business, make government transparent). I disagree with the idea that you should expect the legislature to legislate while denying it the available tools (but then, I don't think we need new taxes, I think we need across-the-board tax reform), but he is solid and direct. No jokes, here. (He gets a Good from the Munis)

For Position #2, I have to sidetrack into Incumbent Pat Sullivan's mailers. I have warmed to Mr. Sullivan over the years, and his first mailer of the season indicates a string of awards he has been given. Which is a different set than in 2008, which was a different set in 2006. Does this guy have a U-Store-it somewhere in Auburn that is filled with awards?

Pat Sullivan shows what I expect to see across the board from the incumbents this year - a personal story about how they are tightening their belts in the face of the shortfall. That, plus promises of accountability makes him a solid contender with the Muni's rating of Outstanding.

Rodrigo Yanez is not a professional politician, which is cool in my book for the position he's running for. For the state legislature, a part-time body operating under restrictions, not being a professional politician may be a good way to survive the legislature. He introduces us from his business side and says that should carry over into government. He also thinks of the children. The easy joke aside, this year's crop has been light on those thinking of the children.

And that's it for the Voter's Guide. There are a couple other weirdnesses for the ballot I want to delve into, and a bit about the ground game, but we'll do the endorsements and get back to important stuff. Like collectible quarters.

More later,