Re-elect Rep. Luis Moscoso

Rep. Luis Moscoso has been a standout legislator, farsighted and responsive to the needs of the 1st Legislative District, and willing to tackle long-term challenges from transportation infrastructure to gang violence and civil rights. Moscoso, a Democrat, deserves re-election.

As a vice chair of the House Transportation Committee, Moscoso helped shepherd a transportation-finance package finessed by Committee Chair Judy Clibborn. Its passage in the House, but subsequent collapse in the Senate, illustrated the limits of ideology. Transportation — like basic education a primary responsibility of state government — should be a best-politics-is-no-politics issue. Moscoso worked transportation in that spirit, elbowing Republicans and underlining the economic imperative. His focus and experience informed the creation of a House rail caucus (encouraged in part by former Republican Secretary of State Ralph Munro). Freight mobility transcends party, especially with the flow of agricultural goods from Eastern Washington. The added dilemma for Moscoso and other rail-caucus members is finding ways to bolster capacity while ensuring public safety. The volume of highly flammable Bakken crude moving through Snohomish County is concerning, especially with the possibility of a derailment.

Moscoso’s Republican opponent, Ed Barton, a CPA and former Mill Creek planning commissioner, is an impressive candidate with creative approaches to identifying revenue for transportation and K-12 education. He’s a paradox — a Dan Evans Republican in a tea party culture, and a fiscalconservative who underscores the value of a state income tax. Barton also embraces a transportation-finance package, with a focus on state businesses underwriting much of it. Here common sense and political reality part ways. Barton would make a fine legislator, and we encourage him to remain active in politics. If he gets elected, Barton will need to emulate Moscoso’s example. Moscoso had to navigate the transition from outside activist to effective political operator. No small feat, that.

The other Democrat in the race, Dave Griffin, hasn’t bothered to study the issues, repeating a “time for a change” mantra. He is not qualified.

The challenge for Moscoso is whether he can build on a successful record of public safety and transportation while advancing his signature legislation, the Washington Voting Rights Act. Here’s hoping the art of the possible finds expression in the 2015-17 session.

Two excellent candidates. The Herald Editorial Board recommends the re-election of Rep. Luis Moscoso.

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