Opinion

Endorsements: For Congress and state Legislature | In Our Opinion

U.S. House of Representatives, 6th District

We endorse Derek Kilmer.

Kilmer, a state legislator since 2005, has worked across party lines for legislation that has improved business and education in Washington state — among them, directing more goods and services contracts to businesses owned by veterans and service members, and ensuring that veterans’ relevant military training and experience can be transferred for educational credits or professional licensing when appropriate. He supports investment in STEM education — Science, Technology, Engineering and Math — because that’s where the job growth is going to be.

Debt reduction needs to come “in a bipartisan way,” he said. “We can’t cut and tax our way out of it. It’s going to take some tough decisions, and the right decisions.” He opposes turning Medicare into a voucher system and opposes continuing tax breaks for the nation’s top earners.

The other candidate is Bill Driscoll, a timber company executive and descendant of Weyerhauser’s founder. He worked in Asia for four years, and served in the Marines in Iraq and Afghanistan. Driscoll and Kilmer see protecting veterans’ interests as a priority — protecting access to health care, addressing homelessness, helping veterans transition to civilian life. But Kilmer is better prepared to do that.

Kilmer, a Democrat, never forgot what a Republican mentor taught him: Always get someone from the other party to co-sponsor your bill. Vote for the good laws, vote against the bad ones. This philosophy has worked well for him in Olympia. We encourage voters to send him to Congress.

23rd District state representative, positions 1 and 2; 23rd District state Senate

We endorse Sherry Appleton for position 1 and Drew Hansen for position 2. We endorse Christine Rolfes for state Senate; she is essentially unopposed, as her opponent dropped out of the race after the deadline to have his name removed from the ballot. Regardless, we need her in the Senate.

It’s not enough to say the state needs to reduce taxes, cut spending and do more to spur business growth. Appleton, Hansen and Rolfes have been in the trenches doing just that — cutting spending and drafting or supporting legislation that will create jobs. In this sluggish recovery, jobs creation takes some creativity.

Hansen is proud of the bipartisan support he won for his legislation that enlarged the engineering program at Olympic College — he said it will create 30 more engineers every year — and wants to see that expanded to other fields in demand in North Kitsap, such as software engineers and nurses. He’s also proud of the bipartisan support he won for elimination of a tax on North Kitsap forest land proposed to be purchased by a coalition of conservation groups. The acquisition will create conservation, recreation and tourism-related jobs.

They know that real recovery is going to require tax reform, and it’s a conversation we need to have. It is indeed wrong that lawmakers can create a tax loophole with a 51 percent vote, but must muster two-thirds support to eliminate a loophole. We do need to reduce the state’s reliance on sales taxes, which are volatile. A state income tax of higher wage earners would be a more stable revenue source; with an income tax in place, they would decrease the state sales tax and eliminate the business and occupations tax, bolstering business activity.

Reform will require tradeoffs. But it’s a conversation we need to have. And our 23rd District senator and representatives are committed to having it.

 

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