Washington State Representative District 43 Position 1


I rarely vote for or endorse candidates running unopposed. There doesn’t seem to be much point. However, I make an exception for Jamie Pedersen. His cause celebre is marriage equality. He’s been the leader in the legislature getting a domestic partner registry law passed, and then expanding it the following year. The stated plan is to add more and more of the rights and privileges associated with marriage to the domestic partner law, until it’s indistinguishable from marriage. Huzzah!

I vote twice for Jamie Pedersen.

Washington State Insurance Commissioner

Choices are:

This position is the watchdog for the insurance industry. Why anyone would think putting an insurance agent (Adams) in place as a watchdog for the industry is a mystery to me. John A. Adams believes in creative solutions to expand insurance coverage. Coming from an agent, I suspect that means he wants to unfetter the industry so it could (in theory) offer all sorts of new insurance options at lower cost. Possibly. But the way insurance works, someone needs to hold their feet to the fire to pay up when disaster strikes. The idea that the free market will force them to honor their obligations is ludicrous. Consumers pay up front. Insurance companies can take the money and run. There’s just too much incentive to meet profit objectives by denying claims. You want someone independent of the industry like Kreidler to be the watchdog.

Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction

My choices are:

So here’s the thing, I’m note sure there’s anything seriously wrong with Washington State’s schools. I don’t know if they are being run well either. And if they are being run poorly, what can be done to fix them? I don’t think the education establishment has acquitted itself very well on it’s attempts to improve education. Both candidates are members of that establishment, from somewhat different perspectives. Whether or not we have the WASL in it’s current form I think is of little import, despite the arguments pro and con from teachers and whatnot. From my experience mentoring high school kids at Chief Sealth (one of the poorer performing and under-supplied schools in Seattle) the WASL is neither causing anyone’s downfall nor proving to be anyone’s savior. (I do wish the SPI would ban the gimmicks the Seattle Public Schools use to drop badly performing students from the official WASL statistics, but that’s not going to actually fix education.) And lastly, I don’t really know how much influence the Superintendent of Public Instruction really has on the individual school districts in the state.

So unless someone posts something really insightful here, I’ll not be voting in this race. I know I changed my mind on the Lt. Governor race, so maybe I will here too. But I’ll definitely need better arguments than either of the candidates’ web sites or the newspaper endorsements I’ve seen. Comment away, if you care.

Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands

My choices are:

An overly pro-business anti-environment Republican who has issues with harassing female interns, or a pro-environment rancher (agricultural credibility!). Goldmark all the way.

Washington State Attorney General

My choices are:

Rob McKenna has always struck me as a self-promoter more than a doer, and his prominent issues have tended to be standard law-and-order and protect business issues. He did a good job defending the top 2 primary when it went against the desire of his party organization. Of course, that’s his job. Now he wants to be lauded for doing his job as if it’s something special. Give him credit for not shirking that one area at least.

John Ladenburg promises to expand the enforcement activities of the attorney general to focus on the environment, consumer protection, and protecting rights. Huzzah! I’m glad McKenna liked to keep meth labs closed, but I’m of the opinion that meth labs are not our #1 law enforcement priority. And I think that pretty much any attorney general could and would prosecute meth manufacturers.

My vote is for John Ladenburg.

Washington State Auditor

My choices are:

The state auditor’s position got a lot more interesting a couple of years ago with the passage of a performance audit initiative. After that, the state auditor could conduct performance audits (not just financial audits) of any government entity in the state. Liberals are hopping mad that Sonntag used the new powers too much, and conservatives are hopping mad that he hasn’t uncovered billions of dollars of government waste. McEntee is running on a platform of wishful thinking that there just has to be some $1 billion in wasteful spending in government in the state, and he’s gonna find it. He thinks he’ll find it in higher education. Sonntag certainly should audit them, but he’s not going to find a billion in savings, and you don’t start your job with the trickiest cases. Sonntag has done a good job. McEntee could probably capably run the office, but he promises more than he can deliver.

I vote for Sonntag.

Washington State Treasurer

My choices are:

The primary job for the state treasurer is managing the state’s money. My favorite candidate came in third in the primary. ChangMook Sohn was the state economist and would have brought to the table an economist’s outlook.

Left in the race is an administrator from the Treasurer’s office who has spent much of his career as a government treasurer and a former state representative who is an economist. One has a lot of experience with running treasuries in the state and knows the issues they face. The other possibly will have insight into the economy and will be able to make better investments of our money because of this. However, McIntire hasn’t been out there with an economics blog or frequent publication in the press about the economy, so I have no way to compare his insights with what actually happened. As a professor, perhaps he’s had some academic publications. This is the thing, quite a large majority of the public economists (i.e., those who have been profligate with their opinions) completely missed or dismissed the housing bubble. I have no way to tell if McIntire is one of those people. What comes up when I search for articles written by him are micro-economics papers on the minimum wage and decisions on training. What I’m worried about is whether he falls into GroupThink like a lot of other economists have.

I kind of have to take a leap of faith here. I’m going to vote for McIntire on the guess that he has some insight, or at least can recognize it well from the people he employs if he wins. I think Allan Martin would be a capable administrative treasurer, and I would vote for him if times were good or McIntire had some indication of being a poor economist. I hope he stays on in the treasurer’s office under McIntire, should McIntire win. But if he doesn’t there are other folks with his background that could replace him.

So my vote will be for McIntire.

Washington State Secretary of State

My choices are:

Jason Osgood’s positions on elections are all pretty solid. Policy-wise we wouldn’t have the issues with using bad election technology that other states have run in to, and which Washington has seen a few instances of. But he’s a one trick pony. The office of Secretary of State’s biggest area is state elections, but it has lots of other responsibilities. The Secretary of State (which is very unlike the federal Secretary of State) needs to be a solid manager to handle all the departments run out of the office. I know nothing about Osgood’s managerial experience, and his web site does not list any. It takes more than being right on an issue.

Sam Reed has been a capable Secretary of State. The state liberal web is pretty anti-Sam Reed because he (along with Rob McKenna) implemented the Top 2 primary. I, however, love the Top 2 primary, which was after all voted in place by initiative. His failing was apparently not fighting it enough. I say booyah! He hasn’t been as rigid as I would like to get verified paper trails in place for election technology, but pushing to have counties move to vote by mail moves more people to a paper trail than anything else will.

My vote is for Sam Reed.

See, I’m not a complete knee-jerk liberal Democrat.

Washington State Lieutenant Governor

My choices are:

  • Brad Owen (Prefers Democratic Party)
  • Marcia McCraw (Prefers Republican Party)

Brad Owen’s big thing is that he is anti-drug. I’m muddled with regard to legalization because I’ve seen the harm drugs can do. But I’ve also seen how the war on drugs isn’t working either. So pushing the war on drugs doesn’t win any points with me.

Here’s what the Stranger just wrote about McCraw:

This summer, the 54-year-old Ballard resident partied at both Sturgis and Burning Man. She supports gay marriage and wants to legalize marijuana. And she received a 100-percent rating from NARAL Pro-Choice Washington.

Unfortunately, she’s solidly pro-McCain too. However, since Owen is pretty much a shoo-in, she’s not really put a lot of effort in to her campaign. Her issues page is shorter than this blog post will be.

So I can’t really vote for either. Probably will vote for Mickey Mouse or something.

Screw it. Brad Owen is a nothing. McCraw has good positions outside of her views on security and Israel (neither of which matter much to the position). Well, and she’s too pro-business for my tastes. Mostly I didn’t want to vote for her because I don’t want this to become a stepping stone to higher office where those positions really do matter. But I think I’ll vote for her anyway knowing she won’t win as a way to signal to Owen to get with the program. And on the off chance she does win, I know she’s solid on marriage equality and fits my views better on drugs.

Washington State Governor

My choices are:

The race is a lot closer than it should be. Christine Gregoire has been a pretty good governor. She’s been hard-nosed in a few cases, particularly with the viaduct and belatedly with making Plan B available. She tends to work behind the scenes and not step in to issues until a consensus or an impasse has developed, and I’d prefer a governor who was more out front on issues.

Dino Rossi on the other hand has done nothing for 4 years since his last run for governor except make speeches designed to keep him viable for governor. His Forward Washington Foundation is a travesty of a charitable organization. His transportation plan somehow can build an 8 lane 520 for 2 billion less than the current 6 lane plan. He’d veto any marriage equality legislation. He’s anti-choice.

Plus, he doesn’t have the balls to run as a Republican. He has to label his preference as G.O.P. Party. Slick, and redundant.

The clear choice is Christine Gregoire.