A smart vote: Rep. Dave Hayes

Rep. Dave Hayes, R-Camano Island, is the consummate citizen-legislator, exhibiting a lawmaking style the populist framers of Washington’s Constitution had in mind when they conceived a part-time Legislature. The first-term representative has a (real) job as a sergeant in the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office and has yet to be indoctrinated into the school of homogenized platitude-spewing (a bipartisan affliction, alas).

Hayes, who has labored on wonky but key public safety legislation as well as K-12 education more broadly, has been an outstanding legislator, ably working across the aisle to advance the public interest. He deserves to be re-elected.

The 10th House District straddles Snohomish and Island counties, and includes Stanwood, Camano, Whidbey and areas north of Marysville and west of Arlington. It generally elects centrist candidates strong on veterans issues (vis. Whidbey Island NAS), such as Republican Norma Smith and Democrat Mary Margaret Haugen. Hayes seems emblematic of that tradition.

Hayes applies a commonsense approach to policy minutiae. One of his signature bills was in response to a state Supreme Court ruling that overturned the conviction of a man nabbed on drug charges. The reversal happened because the arresting officer was not the officer who witnessed the alleged crime. Hayes had one word changed in the statute — “the” to “an” — so that a misdemeanor may be witnessed by “an” officer, not “the” arresting officer. Picayune, yes, but it promotes justice by reining in a technical pretext, which often gets bad guys off the hook.

Hayes drew three opponents in the primary: Democrat Nick Petrish, Republican Brien Lillquist and independent Democrat David Sponheim.

Petrish is a promising, creative candidate, someone who, if elected, would conscientiously represent the district. A former U.S. Army interrogator during the Cold War, Petrish, a UW grad and industrial electrician, is an eclectic thinker who might shake up a senescent state House. But he’s likely too progressive for 10th District voters. His embrace of a state bank or “Washington Investment Trust” is not as outlandish as many presuppose. We hope Petrish remains active in public life.

If reelected, Hayes, who serves on the Education Committee, will have a chance to move beyond his public safety bailiwick and help craft key decisions related to K-12 funding. Hayes also might try to be (hint) more receptive to a transportation funding package.

The residents of the 10th District are well served by Rep. Dave Hayes.