June Robinson (left) and Carolyn Eslick

June Robinson (left) and Carolyn Eslick

Editorial: Robinson, Eslick for House seats

Robinson has shown herself as a skilled legislator. Eslick knows the needs of her rural district.

38th Legislative District

The 38th Legislative District includes parts of the Tulalip Reservation, Marysville and Everett.

Position 1: Rep. June Robinson, D-Everett, is running for her second full term following her appointment in 2013 to fill a vacancy. She is challenged by Marysville independent Bert Johnson, who unsuccessfully challenged Mike Sells in 2016 for his Position 2 seat in the district.

Johnson, who manages the Grays Harbor Raceway west of Olympia, makes a lengthy commute from his home in Marysville. Not surprisingly, transportation issues are a focus for him and he wants to see changes in how traffic is handled on I-405 and I-5, in particular, opening up I-405’s toll and carpool lanes to all traffic during non-peak hours.

Johnson, a Mountlake Terrace High School graduate, said he’d also push for increased access to career and technical training, such as that offered by Everett’s Sno-Isle Tech Skills Center, which benefited his sons.

Running as an independent, Johnson said he would work to bring both sides of the aisle together and displays a personable manner that would help in that challenge.

Robinson brings to her position background from her work as a program manager for Public Health Seattle and King County as well as the former executive director for the Housing Consortium of Everett and Snohomish County, and a master’s degree in public health.

That has informed successful legislation for which she was the primary sponsor this year that: strengthened privacy protections for patient information held by the state insurance commissioner; required health plans to offer up to 12 months of prescription contraceptives at a time; allows state employees to donate vacation and other time off to fellow employees on leave for pregnancies or parental leave; and a B&O tax exemption for hospital and health agency pilot programs receiving Medicaid grants.

Although it did not advance last year, Robinson also was the primary sponsor for a bill that would have allowed counties and cities to authorize a sales tax increase that could be used to get bonds for affordable housing projects. Robinson said she intends to resubmit the legislation next year, as well as legislation to improve transparency on the pricing of medication, for example insulin and allergy pens.

Robinson said she’d work for more community treatment beds for opioid addiction and mental health, and as vice-chairwoman of the appropriations committee, can have some influence on those investments.

Robinson has demonstrated skill and confidence in moving informed legislation through the House and should be returned to office by voters.

Position 2: Mike Sells, D-Everett, is running unopposed for his seat.

Senate: Prior to the primary election, the editorial board endorsed the re-election of Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip. McCoy, who has served in the Senate since 2013 and also served from 2003 to 2013 in the House, is challenged by “independent Republican” Savio Pham, who is an executive with a business data company and immigrated to the U.S. from Vietnam when he was a young man.

39th Legislative District

The 39th Legislative District covers the rural eastern portions of Skagit, Snohomish and King counties, and includes the cities of Sedro-Woolley, Concrete, Arlington, Darrington, Granite Falls, Monroe, Sultan, Gold Bar, Index and Skykomish.

Position 1: Prior to the primary election, the editorial board endorsed Democrat Ivan Lewis of Sultan to succeed Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, who did not seek re-election this year. Lewis is opposed by Republican Robert Sutherland of Granite Falls.

Position 2: Rep. Carolyn Eslick, R-Sultan, is seeking election to the seat she was appointed to last year, following the resignation of Arlington’s John Koster. Eslick was the choice of county council members from Snohomish, Whatcom and King counties, even though she wasn’t the first choice of Republican precinct officers who submitted three names for consideration. Even so, Eslick, following her first year in the House, faced no other Republican in the August primary.

Eslick is challenged by Democrat Eric Halvorson, a tax attorney from Monroe, who also operates an animal rescue farm with his wife.

Halvorson, who grew up in Burien and has a bachelor’s degree from Gonzaga, seems in tune with constituents of his largely rural district. He said he opposed any suggestion of an income tax, and supports the Second Amendment. He also understands the district’s transportation needs and wants to increase access to job training and apprenticeships. He would also could bring a knowledgeable perspective to budget discussions because of his accounting background.

Eslick, however, has been able to draw on a decade of past leadership as Sultan’s mayor, including a crucial role on a coalition to win funding for safety improvements on U.S. 2.

Eslick had some success in her first session this year; winning passage of a bill for which she was a primary sponsor that requires the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to hold meetings in affected communities before the agency relocates big game animals, including wolves, coyotes and bobcats. Another bill she sponsored, but which did not advance, would have required the state fire marshal to consider policies that would reduce fire deaths at rental properties. Eslick was secondary sponsor on successful bills to provide foster parent training and impose a civil infraction on those falsely claiming a pet as a service animal.

In her appointment to the position, 12 of the 17 county council members supported Eslick, including all five from Snohomish County’s council. Eslick’s first session shows that confidence was well placed. Voters can have the same confidence in supporting Eslick.

Senate: Leading up to the primary, the editorial board endorsed Sen. Keith Wagoner, R-Sedro-Woolley, who was appointed to the post last year following the resignation of Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe. Wagoner, a retired naval aviator and commander, is opposed by Democrat Claus Joens, a business teacher at Concrete High School.

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