Editorial: Stanford, Duerr, Kloba for 1st Legislative District

The three Democrats have shown their ability to move useful legislation through both chambers.

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By The Herald Editorial Board

A brief game of musical chairs followed the resignation of 1st Legislative District Sen. Guy Palumbo, D-Maltby, in 2019, with the appointment of then Rep. Derek Stanford, D-Bothell, to the Senate seat, followed by the appointment of Democrat and Bothell City Council member Davina Duerr to Stanford’s seat.

District voters will now weigh in on those appointments, in addition to deciding on the election to a third term for the incumbent in the district’s No. 2 House seat.

The 1st District, split between Snohomish and King counties, includes the cities of Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Bothell and part of Kirkland and south Snohomish County communities west of High Bridge Road.

Senate

Stanford, who had served in his House seat since 2011, has a doctorate in statistics and has worked as a statistician and data science consultant for 20 years.

His challenger, Republican Art Coday, is a primary care doctor with past work in biochemical and heart research. He lives in Woodinville.

The state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic illustrates the major differences between the two candidates, and their respective careers inform those stands. Both were interviewed jointly in late September.

Coday said he believes the state has lost its way in its response to the pandemic, resulting in harm to the state’s economy and to students because of the closure of schools. Both the economy and schools, he said, need to be reopened safely but fully.

Stanford approves of the more cautious approach taken by the governor and state and county health officials and advocates for more emphasis on testing, tracing and social distancing measures.

Both advocate for a special session before the end of the year, but differ on how to address a significant revenue shortfall that has followed the pandemic response’s closures and restrictions.

Stanford, who said he’s wary that the most recent revenue projections may be “too rosy,” believes immediate cuts should be avoided, in particular to social services, because those supports are most needed during the pandemic and its economic downturn. Cuts may need to be considered for the coming biennium, he said, but Stanford, as he has in the past, said the state also needs to consider reforms to the state’s regressive tax system.

Coday agreed with taking care with cuts, but said reopening the economy and working to keep and attract businesses would accomplish much to replenish state revenues. Coday also advocates for reductions in taxes and avoiding new taxes, in particular a state income tax.

Coday also is advocating for major reforms to the state’s Medicare program, including an increase in reimbursements to providers.

As he had in the House, Stanford has continued a record of productivity in his first session in the Senate. He was primary sponsor on more than 20 bills, covering topics that included the state’s marijuana industry, labor issues and higher education. Among them were successful legislation that encourages the integration of international medical graduates into the state’s health care system and another that limited the medical examinations required of injured workers by the state Department of Labor and Industries or insurers.

Stanford, drawing on his background with data, has shown himself to be a pragmatic and reasoned lawmaker who has ably managed the transition from House to Senate; voters can confidently give him a full four-year term to continue that representation.

House, Position 1

In addition to her service on the Bothell City Council, Davina Duerr, who is an architect, also has served on transportation panels, including the state transportation department’s executive advisory group and Sound Transit’s Bus Rapid Transit leadership group.

She is challenged by Republican Adam Bartholomew, who lives in Bothell and works as a service department manager at an automotive dealership. This is his first run for office.

Bartholomew said it was his experience in seeing his work closed by the governor’s initial “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order that prompted his run. He opposed his job and that of others being labeled “non-essential.” “Many on our crew didn’t come back,” he said, even after restrictions began to be lifted. He said he wants to advocate for the reopening of the state economy and to provide the perspective of a someone from the working class in the Legislature.

Duerr, familiar with a number of issues for the district during her service since 2016 on the Bothell council, said her priorities for her first full term include the state’s continuing response to the pandemic and its economic effects, climate change, affordable housing, the district’s transportation needs and reducing gun violence.

Duerr said lawmakers will need to be cautious about cuts to avoid increasing hardships for the vulnerable and small businesses.

Drawing on her work on the city council, Duerr served as vice chairwoman for the House local government committee. She also serves on the committees for transportation and consumer protection and business.

In her first session earlier this year, Duerr was primary sponsor for 12 bills, including one that while a housekeeping matter, passed the Legislature and corrected language in the 2005 transportation package that has freed up bonding authority for projects in future transportation budgets. Other legislation she has sponsored would add consideration of climate change to the state’s Growth Management Act. Another would establish a state-managed retirement savings program and require certain employers to enroll employees.

Duerr’s performance in the last session showed her to be up to the task and responsibilities. The district and fellow lawmakers will benefit from voters giving her a full two-year term.

House Position 2

Incumbent Rep. Shelley Kloba, D-Kirkland, is running for her third two-year term in the House and is challenged by Republican Jeb Brewer. Prior to the primary election, the editorial board endorsed Kloba.

Kloba is a former Kirkland City Council member and previously served as legislative director for the state PTA. Brewer, a state resident for 16 years, owns a business advising construction and restaurant industries and is a licensed home inspector.

Kloba, who serves as vice chairwoman on committees for commerce and gaming; and innovation, technology and economic development, was primary sponsor on a number of successful bills during her last term, specifically related to issues of personal and consumer data privacy.

Kloba in her four years in the House has shown herself as an effective legislator and warrants a third term.

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