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Seattle Times Endorsement
1st Legislative District Senate seat
Strengths: Small-business owner; impressive public-service résumé
WITH the retirement of a longtime state senator, voters in the 1st Legislative District have a chance to reshape their delegation with more effective representatives. By far, the best choice is Guy Palumbo.
Palumbo will serve the state and his district, which stretches from Kirkland into South Snohomish County, in what is likely to be one of the most consequential legislative sessions in state history.
The highest priority is for lawmakers finally to pass a comprehensive solution to fully fund the state’s K-12 education system. An impatient state Supreme Court has held the state in contempt for almost two years now. A more local concern for the 1st District, which was near ground zero during the abysmal Interstate 405 tolling rollout, is transportation.
On education, retiring Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, has been too aligned with the powerful Washington Education Association, often obstructing rather than advancing compromise solutions.
Palumbo is a Maltby Democrat who owns a dog-boarding business. He also worked as a manager at Amazon and possesses an impressive public-service résumé. He is an elected Snohomish County Fire District 7 commissioner and was appointed to the Snohomish County Planning Commission in 2011, serving as chair for two years.
Well-versed in the options before the Legislature, Palumbo has the right approach, supporting local-levy reform, some new revenues and shifting to a carefully constructed approach to statewide collective bargaining for teacher contracts. Importantly, he also acknowledges that any new money must be spent on improving outcomes for students.
He is challenged by state Rep. Luis Moscoso, D-Bothell, who was not able to engage in a sophisticated conversation about the McCleary problem. Critics are disappointed that he, as vice chairman of the House Transportation Committee, did not show more leadership on solving the I-405 tolling problem as it unfolded.
Also running is Mindie Wirth, a Microsoft manager, co-president of the Northshore PTSA Council and community volunteer. The Bothell Republican is a thoughtful advocate for schools but is too close-minded on the question of whether new taxes are needed to solve the court’s McCleary mandate.