The race for the state senate in the 1st Legislative District has become a proxy campaign for education reform. With I-1240 — the charter-schools’ initiative — as a backdrop, voters have been shelled by mass mailers fueled by oodles of political dough. Reducing a longtime public servant like Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe to a reform-obstructing caricature, however, marginalizes a distinguished record. While education is a driver — and few lawmakers have promoted education more vigorously than McAuliffe over the years — it’s one of several issues that will inform the future of the 1st district.
McAuliffe, who chairs the Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee, has served in the state senate for 20 years and was called out this past session for throttling reform legislation. Fending off the special-interest moniker, McAuliffe remains a committed public servant, but her thinking and leadership style no longer align with a chairmanship that demands innovation (all the more imperative with the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision mandating full funding of K-12.)
Her opponent, Republican Dawn McCravey, is a former special-ed teacher and a Northshore School Board member. McCravey looks at basic education through a fresh, school-board-tested lens, tying board and district goals with student achievement and advancing a more rigorous curriculum. Her willingness to explore education options that put students ahead of administration, as well as her grounding in small-business issues, make McCravey the more appealing choice.
In Position 1, Rep. Derek Stanford has matured into an able lawmaker who is making his mark as a member of the Business and Financial Services Committee. Stanford, who also serves on the Education Appropriations and Oversight Committee, labored to secure funding for a science facility at the UW/Bothell and also passed a bill targeting predatory debt collectors. His Republican opponent, former Bothell Deputy mayor Sandy Guinn, likewise deserves credit for the growth of the UW/Bothell, advancing downtown re-development and transportation projects that have enhanced local infrastructure and campus capacity.
Guinn dings Stanford for a poor rating by the National Federation of Independent Business and what she sees as a higher-tax MO. Her budget suggestions, including liquidating some state lands, need to be more detailed and, arguably, more politically tenable. Stanford is also better versed on the district’s transportation needs. Ultimately, Guinn does not advance a sufficiently convincing argument to replace Stanford.
In Position 2, Rep. Luis Moscoso, a rising-star progressive, has successfully navigated the transition from activist to lawmaker. A champion of gang prevention, civil rights and small business, Moscoso would be the ideal sponsor of the Washington Voting Rights Act this next session. Political smarts braided with judgment (and an indefatigable campaigner) Moscoso faces an equally committed challenger in conservative Republican Mark Davies. Submitting a petition in lieu of a filing fee, Davies qualified as an undeclared write-in candidate. A transportation wonk and Boeing programmer, Davies advocates repeal of the Growth Management Act and criticizes Moscoso for being too much of a spendthrift Democrat.
Six good candidates with the public interest in mind. The Herald Editorial Board recommends Dawn McCravey, Derek Stanford, and Luis Moscoso.