Re-elect Maria Cantwell

The United States Senate was conceived as a constitutional check, an upper chamber sheltered from political crosswinds. Who better to temper raucous members of the House of Representatives caught in the effluence of their own exuberance?

When James Madison described the senatorial temperament in Federalist Paper No. 62, he underlined a trust “which requires great extent of information and stability of character.” Madison couldn’t imagine an age of senate reelections that launch a day or two after the polls close. Notwithstanding campaign-season babble and the grotesque post-Citizens United money rush, the Senate remains, as Montana’s Mike Mansfield observed, one of the rocks of the republic.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, who is seeking her third term, continues to exhibit the leadership, ballast, work ethic, and farsightedness of the consummate lawmaker. She stands as a steady, thoughtful voice in Washington, a proponent of small business, manufacturing, the environment, and Wall Street reform. The Herald Editorial Board strongly recommends Cantwell’s re-election.

Cantwell has made the economy and jobs the centerpiece of her campaign, and it’s a natural extension of her Congressional service. From helping secure the Air Force contract for the Boeing refueling tanker to establishing the Small Business Lending Fund to boost small businesses and community banks, Cantwell has demonstrated the legislative finesse to deliver.

Many of Cantwell’s achievements are as significant as they are arcane. Cantwell insisted on bird-dogging the abuse of derivatives’ trading, the kind of private-sector legerdemain which helped fuel the Great Recession. Backbone-ish regulatory language in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is Cantwell’s doing, and it merits trumpeting even if it’s a bear to explain.

Cantwell, who shares a house in Edmonds with her mom, emerged as a ratepayer hero in Snohomish County for her unyielding pursuit of Enron, ensuring that residents didn’t foot the energy giant’s bill. Cantwell sealed her investigation with legislation that gives the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission the power to punish future Enron-esque manipulation. In addition, she recognizes the link between higher education and economic growth, working to establish a University of Washington Center for Excellence to bolster aerospace studies.

Cantwell’s challenger, state Sen. Michael Baumgartner, is a promising Republican leader who has shown a willingness to work across the aisle. His record as a pragmatic conservative, however, is belied by the eclectic focus of his campaign — from legalizing marijuana to a one-cent gas tax to benefit veterans. A foreign policy wonk, Baumgartner faults Cantwell for voting in favor of the Iraq war and America’s continued involvement in Afghanistan.

The Herald Editorial Board recommends Maria Cantwell for the U.S. Senate.

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