Full term for Sen. John McCoy

State Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, is bracingly honest, a virtue that can feel out of place in the glad-handing Legislature. He reduces challenges to their essence, no sugarcoating, no false pledges. It’s a leadership style as jarring as it is invigorating, particularly in an institution of promise-makers.

McCoy, who served in the state House for 11 years and was appointed to the Senate last year, deserves election to a full, four-year term. (His Republican challenger has not actively campaigned.)

McCoy yielded some of his legislative power by seeking the Senate seat that opened after Nick Harper’s resignation in 2013. No longer a committee chair and part of the Democratic minority, McCoy serves as the ranking member on the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee. It’s a role consistent with his wonky passion for green energy, the health of Puget Sound and all-things technology.

On the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision, McCoy offers the “no free lunch” gospel. The matter of supplementing K-12 to the tune of $2 billion is compounded by other mandates such as the August state Supreme Court’s ruling outlawing the practice of “psychiatric boarding” in hospital emergency rooms. Add to that the 2013 permanent injunction by a federal district court to remove barriers to fish passage on state-highway culverts, and we’re talking real money. Initiative 1351, aimed at reducing class size, is another log on the fire, McCoy said. It will make getting-to-yes that much more arduous.

The revenue challenge is a problem “bigger than both parties,” he said, and he’s right. Much of the budget can’t be touched, with the alliterative basics — to educate, to medicate and to incarcerate. Some non-regressive tax increase may be required.

McCoy believes the possibility of a transportation-finance package revolves around the political make-up of the Senate. He and other senators didn’t even have the option of voting on a package this past session. McCoy has bird-dogged oil by rail, coal trains and the need for advance notification to communities (a Bakken crude explosion in the Everett tunnel is one of several worse-case scenarios.) He offers an eliminate-at-the-source approach to the fish-consumption standard, which informs acceptable levels of cancer-causing crud flowing into NW waterways. He also concentrates on mental health support to tamp down gun violence. And he concedes that, after the transfer of SPEEA jobs, Boeing was “not being truthful” when the original Boeing tax giveaway was magoozled in a special session.

Judgment and candor are rare qualities in politics. Elect John McCoy.

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