In talented field, Haugen, Barlean, Sehlin stand out

If folks aren’t paying attention to legislative District 10 in Tulalip, Camano Island and Island County, they should be. This is a district full of great candidates. We wish all of them could serve in the Legislature at the same time. However, the election of three particular candidates stands to make the district a powerhouse in Olympia.

With that in mind, we recommend Mary Margaret Haugen, Kelly Barlean and Barry Sehlin.

Haugen, the incumbent in the Senate race, is chairwoman of the Senate Transportation Committee. Transportation is the hot issue this year and she is in a spot to influence it. Barlean, who is just finishing his freshman term, is already vice-chair of the House Appropriations Committee. If Sehlin is elected and there is a Republican majority in the House, he stands to be chair of Appropriations.

Haugen, a well-respected veteran legislator and a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission, wants a transportation package that includes highways, transit, ferries and rail. She believes it’s the state’s duty to invest more money in education and she’s keeping tabs on teachers’ concerns about testing and the need for more training.

Her Republican opponent, Norma Smith, is wrapping up a superb job as a member of Congressman Jack Metcalf’s staff. Smith’s in-depth work on Gulf War illness impressed many in the other Washington. Her campaign slogan, "a fresh approach to government," is no joke. Her clean campaign commitment has received recognition nationwide. She is fiscally conservative and isn’t afraid to tackle budget issues in the wake of Initiative 695.

In Position 1, Barry Sehlin is hoping to work his way back to Olympia after serving as a state representative from 1993 to 1998. Sehlin, a former U.S. Navy captain, has a no-nonsense approach to government — define policies and priorities and attack it that way. Always exemplary in his bipartisan approach, Sehlin knows that transportation needs a permanent funding source and that addressing congestion means taking care of roads and transit. He’d like to help the state continue with education reform believes resources shouldn’t be impacted because of Initiative 695.

Dave Anderson, the Democratic incumbent, points out that his science-oriented background is a rare find in Olympia and he understands agriculture and environmental issues like no one else. Effectively managing growth is Anderson’s focus. He’d also like to see a long-term funding source for transportation and on-line education to address higher education needs.

Position 2 offers two exciting candidates this election. Lawyer Kelly Barlean is running for re-election against John McCoy, executive director of government affairs for the Tulalip Tribes.

In just two years in office, Barlean, a Republican, was appointed to the Appropriations committee and made vice-chair. He also helped to save the Whidbey Island Game Farm from development. Barlean understands the public’s frustration with what many perceive as an unresponsive political system. So, he’s not surprised by I-695. The state budget should be a policy-driven instrument, not a piece-meal Band Aid, he said.

His Democratic opponent, John McCoy, is respected for his hard work educating legislators about Native American issues and his depth of involvement in a host of regional and national issues as a Tulalip Tribes official. He was successful in establishing a technology program with the Marysville School District that may be implemented elsewhere. He’d like to work to reduce class size and increase teacher pay. He supports year-round school and changing school hours so students don’t start so early in the morning.

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