Schmidt, Lovick model bipartisan work in 44th

It has been two years since we last endorsed Dave Schmidt and John Lovick for House of Representatives positions 1 and 2, respectively, in the 44th District. And we’re ready to do it again, this year.

The Republican and Democratic lawmakers offer voters an excellent example of bipartisan cooperation and readiness to tackle exasperating issues such as transportation.

Schmidt, a Republican, is right on the mark when he says the House needs good senior leadership. He has a solid reputation among fellow legislators on both sides of the aisle. Schmidt has a very realistic understanding of the impact of initiatives on the budget process. He knows coming up with a budget won’t be easy, but voters won’t tolerate tax increases.

Schmidt supports bringing health insurance companies back to our state. An opponent of Initiative 745, Schmidt believes in a balanced approach to solving the transportation mess that includes light rail to Northgate, supporting transit in Snohomish County and improving roads. And he’s looking ahead to the issue of establishing permanent funding sources for criminal justice. That may not be the hottest topic among voters this year, but Schmidt is wise to look forward and be prepared.

Schmidt is being challenged by Democrat Kerry Watkins. A Boeing aircraft mechanic and officer in the Washington Army National Guard, Watkins’ record of community service sets an example. He offers an interesting suggestion for dealing with crime. Watkins proposes requiring a certain category of offenders, who meet the requirements, to serve in the military where they can learn structure and discipline.

Unfortunately, Watkins’ thoughtful ideas have been somewhat overshadowed by negative and false campaigning against Schmidt. To his credit, Watkins has sincerely apologized for the incorrect information on his Web site. But such an error suggests to us he is not ready "to work with anyone who wants to put politics aside and work for the good of our community and state," as his political leaflet proclaims.

In Position 2, the race is close between Lovick and his Republican opponent, Irene Endicott.

Lovick should win an award for most gracious behavior in an arena that tends to bring out the worst in some people. While expressing his desire to serve another term, the Democrat told this editorial board he is confident his opponent would serve the district well, if elected.

The 26-year veteran of the Washington State Patrol has a realistic perspective on the impact of initiatives on the budget process. He knows the initiative process is here to stay and supports it. Lovick favors a balanced approach to dealing with transportation that includes maintaining the current roads and infrastructure and allowing regions to come up with solutions to their area’s problems. Not surprisingly, Lovick has a common-sense grasp on criminal justice issues. He knows that new, tougher laws might be popular, but often they add to the cost of our criminal justice system and directly impact our cities and counties who have to find ways to pay for them.

Endicott has gained quite a bit of support in her district and it’s no surprise. No stranger to the public spotlight, Endicott lobbied on behalf of senior citizens in Olympia, had her own radio program, ran a business and wrote several books on the topic of grandparenting. She is a strong advocate of re-examining the budget to see what existing money can be found, lowering property taxes and eventually phasing out the property tax levy. Her strength appears to be researching and analyzing issues. The problem is, Endicott is still waiting to begin her research at a time when candidates need to be prepared with possible solutions before heading to Olympia.

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