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Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal 2012 Election Endorsements

 

As this is posted, Election Day 2012 is a mere three weeks away, and most people have already received their ballots. In spite of the usual hyperbole that always surrounds presidential elections — if you’re 45 years old or more, this is the most important election of your lifetime.

What’s at stake is the American way of life. It’s the America we’ve always known and loved, verses the America Barack Obama wants to create.

Until the televised presidential debates, where Mitt Romney finally got to articulate his vision for America, the Democrats, with the help of the Lamestream Media, had defined the issues utilizing their tried and true, pathetic class warfare strategy.

But no matter what you think of President Obama, this election is still his to lose. The corrupt Lamestream Media has conveniently given him a free pass on most issues, and acted more as the press office of the campaign, than the objective news organizations they’re supposed to be.

Locally, and statewide, we’re frankly disappointed in the quality of many of the candidates, and have chosen no endorsements over supporting people who either don’t deserve them, or whose performance in office hasn’t earned them.

Please note these endorsements weren’t unanimous within our editorial staff, but here’s who the Business Journal supports.

FEDERAL RACES

• President — Mitt Romney: Barack Obama has been the worse president since Jimmy Carter. Under his so-called “leadership,” a bad economy has gotten significantly worse, unemployment has grown, gas prices are up by at least a third, regulations have run amuck, our foreign policy is in shambles, and he has plunged this country into a debt crisis our grandchildren will be saddled with paying. That’s not to mention the heavy costs to business that ObamaCare will create — designating IRS agents to make your medical decisions, not doctors and medical professionals.

Does something need to be done about healthcare in America? Absolutely. However, ObamaCare isn’t the answer. Neither is four more years of Obama’s mismanagement.

• U.S. Senator — No Endorsement: Maria Cantwell has become a Washington D.C. insider, and the only time we even see her around here is at election time. While we expect she will win re-election easily, she has supported most things businesses oppose. Meanwhile, Michael Baumgartner is way too far right for our comfort zone.

• 1st Congressional District: No endorsement: We considered endorsing Susan Del Bene, but she never responded to interview requests, and John Koster is just too far to the right.

• 6th Congressional District: Derek Kilmer: Kilmer, whose “day job” is economic development, is someone who “gets it” about small business and job creation. He’s done a good job in the Washington State Legislature, and is part of the “Roadkill Caucus” — the group of Democratic legislators that don’t always vote the party line. He’s smart, pragmatic, and likeable. He’ll do well as Norm Dicks’ replacement, and just as the late, great, Senator Warren Magnuson mentored Dicks, and connected him to the right people in Congress he needed to effectively represent his district, we expect the same will happen with Kilmer.

Opponent Bill Driscoll is a quality candidate — a businessman, Marine and family man — but is wrong for this district. For example, he says he has no interest serving as chair of the military appropriations committee. With six major military installations, and a number of minor ones, what is the majority of jobs in the 6th District dependent upon? Hello…

STATEWIDE RACES

• Governor — Rob McKenna: If you’re in business in Washington this should be a no-brainer. Inslee is clueless about small business, what’s important to it, and why. He is way too focused on green energy, and as much as he and his supporters want it to, the bottom line is green energy just doesn’t pencil. There will be no new “green” jobs because the law of supply and demand will always ensure that no one buys products that cost too much.

The strategy to make it pencil is to level the playing field against all competitive forms of energy — like coal, hydro, and natural gas — by regulating those industries to the point their costs go through the roof. That’s what the coal train issue, and tearing down dams without replacing the electricity they generate, is all about. Obama has sworn to eliminate coal as a fuel source in America — in spite of the fact technology is now in place that makes it burn cleaner than natural gas.

This is the kind of thinking Jay Inslee embraces. Frankly, as Solyndra and many of the other taxpayer-financed green ventures have already proven, it’s a prescription for economic disaster. Inslee is a green zealot who refuses to “get” that.

• Lt. Governor — Brad Owen: Owen is a straight shooter and has served the state well. His opponent, Bill Finkbeiner, brings nothing new or better to the table.

• Secretary of State — Kim Wyman: This is Washington’s top elections official and records-keeper. Wyman is the incumbent Thurston County Auditor, while her opponent Kathleen Drew is a former state senator and advisor to Governor Christine Gregoire. In this case, direct job experience wins out.

• State Treasurer — Sharon Hanek: Incumbent Jim Macintire didn’t bring a lot to the table when he was elected four years ago other than the D behind his name. Hanek is a CPA, and has successfully represented clients before various State and Federal taxing agencies. She looks like a better choice to us.

• State Auditor — James Watkins: This is another no-brainer. Opponent Troy Kelley’s reported shady business dealings make his ethics somewhat suspect to the point his own party has kept him at an arm’s length.

• Attorney General — Reagan Dunn: Son of noted former state Senator, the late Jennifer Dunn, and named for the president she most admired, Reagan Dunn has the experience an AG needs.

His opponent, Bob Ferguson, is less experienced legally and most noted for defending a cop-killer, publicly saying it felt good to help. Dunn is the clear choice here.

• Commissioner of Public Lands — No Endorsement: Incumbent Peter Goldmark hasn’t distinguished himself in any way other than being a puppet of activist environmental interests.

Former NFL player Clint Didier on the other hand is a Tea Party favorite who was a distraction in the Senate race between Dino Rossi and Patty Murray by refusing to endorse fellow Republican Rossi after losing the primary. While we agree with Didier’s strong support of property rights, we fear he would be as far right as Goldmark is to the left.

• Insurance Commissioner — John Adams: His best qualification in our view is that he isn’t Mike Kriedler. Kriedler is blatantly anti-business, and that has a lot to do with why we only have about a half-dozen choices for health insurance carriers in this state. It’s time for him to go.

• Supreme Court Justice, Position 9 — Richard Sanders: Sanders is a thorn in the side of most liberals because he’s basically a Libertarian who believes the state constitution actually means what it says. He’s been a strong advocate for private property rights, public disclosure, and restricting the powers of the nanny state — things we see as positive.

Initiative 1185 (pdf) — Yes: This is a no brainer. If the legislature actually listened to the voters, this wouldn’t be necessary, and shouldn’t even have to be on the ballot. But since they refuse to, it’s time to send them the message once again — get spending under control, and if you can’t — or refuse to — then it will take a 2/3 legislative majority or a vote of the people to increase taxes. Could the message be any clearer?

Initiative 1240 (pdf) — Yes: We believe Charter Schools are a good thing, and should have been implemented long before now — just as they have been in almost every other state but here. It’s primarily the strength of the teachers union that has prevented that. Our kids will be the winners if it passes.

• Referendum 74 (pdf) — No Endorsement: While we expect this to pass, it’s our position that marriage is not a state issue since marriage is sanctioned by churches, but one for them and religious leaders to sort out. Gay people already have the full legal rights domestic partners are accorded in civil unions. You can oppose 74 without being anti-gay. This is an emotional issue that our editorial staff was split on — some view it as little more than a case of too much unnecessary government interference in people’s lives, while others felt it wasn’t.

Initiative 502 (pdf) — Yes: We are in favor of legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, but would like to see the legislature restrict its distribution to availability only by doctor’s prescription through licensed pharmacies — not storefront dispensaries where almost anyone can buy it over the counter. The problem is that as long as the federal government says it’s illegal, it puts the state, as well as any and all local governments that allow it should this referendum pass (which we believe it will) in a precarious position. It’s way past time for the feds to revisit this issue.

• Resolution 8221 (pdf) — No: This will allow an unneeded and unnecessary expansion of the state’s ability to incur additional debt. The only consequences will be additional cost to the taxpayers.

LOCAL RACES

• 23rd LD, Senate — Christine Rolfes: Rolfes is pretty balanced in her approach to things and is at least always willing to listen to an opposing point of view. Challenger Bret Treadwell dropped out long ago over personal issues, so this never has really been a race.

• 23rd LD, House, Position 1 — No Endorsement: Incumbent Sherry Appleton has represented her supporters — unions, especially state employee unions — tribes, environmentalists, and other assorted liberal special interests, strongly in Olympia. It’s everyone else — including business — she’s forgotten about.

Her opponent, Tony Stephens, shuns endorsements and quotes the constitution with regularity. While it’s comforting to know he understands it, it has very little bearing on the position. He just doesn’t seem to get that.

• 23rd LD, House, Position 2 — No Endorsement: Drew Hansen, who was appointed to the position (read: party insider), is a lawyer heavily supported by trial lawyers and other liberal interests. During his appointed time in Olympia, he did absolutely nothing to distinguish himself other than voting the party line.

His opponent, James Olsen seemingly tries to go out of his way to regularly offend people, and is as far right as Hansen is left — a no-win for the 23rd district in our view.

• 26th LD, House, Position 1 — Jan Angel: Angel has done a good job representing her district. As a member of the local government committee, she’s well positioned to help our cities — and does when asked. Angel has quietly been a very effective legislator, especially behind the scenes, and deserves re-election.

Her opponent, Karin Ashabraner, is seemingly more focused on helping the teachers union than helping the district. She opposes teacher accountability, charter schools, and anything that changes the status quo for teachers except more money. She’s just not a good fit for this district — and possibly not for public service.

• 26th LD, House, Position 2, Dual Endorsement — Larry Seaquist and Doug Richards: This is a rematch of two years ago, when Richards came close to beating incumbent, Seaquist, who has done a pretty good job representing the district. He’s been especially focused on education and ferry service. We believe that if the Governor was smart, she’d have asked him to run the ferry system and not waste his time in the legislature.

Richards is a smart, pragmatic, sensible guy who will most likely vote what’s best for the district, and not necessarily the party line. The 26th wins either way on this one.

• 35th LD, House, Position 1 — Dan Griffey: This too is a rematch of a close race from two years ago. Incumbent Kathy Haigh is a nice lady who is primarily focused on education, and not too much else.

Griffey understands what business needs in this state and the negative impact of over-regulation. Haigh, who has been there for many years, still doesn’t. Time for a change.

• 35th LD, House, Position 2 — Drew McEwen: There is no incumbent in this race. McEwen is a business guy, and understands over-regulation and its negative impact on jobs in a district hard hit by them.

Opponent Linda Ring-Erickson is a known commodity in Mason County, which encompasses a large part of the district, and her record on the Mason County Commission is less than stellar. We say take a chance on the new guy.

• Kitsap County Commissioner, District 1 — No Endorsement: Another rerun match up. Incumbent Rob Gelder, who we endorsed previously, was originally appointed to this seat, but after a couple of years on the job, hasn’t really made much of a difference. He’s light on understanding issues important to his constituents, and doesn’t give the impression he truly cares to understand them. He’s a nice guy for sure, very cordial, polite, and affable, but seems almost afraid to make a decision because he doesn’t want to offend anyone — especially those in control of his party.

His opponent, Chris Tibbs, on the other hand is a straight talking guy who doesn’t worry about offending anyone, and says exactly what’s on his mind. He’s gotten a somewhat bad rap in the media — including here — over a bankruptcy a few years back, but has also overcome a lot of negative factors in his life not of his own making. He’s a pragmatist that frankly, we’d like to see elected to run the local Republican Party.

• Kitsap County Commissioner, District. 2 — No Endorsement: This too is a case of two bad choices. Incumbent Commissioner Charlotte Garrido is more focused on growing local food and green issues than almost anything to do with business. While she pays lip service to helping business, serving on the board of business organizations like the Kitsap Economic Development Alliance, and being involved in workforce development, her voting record on things important to local business tells a much different story.

Her opponent, Linda Simpson, is a nice lady, with a sunny personality, but just as when she ran for the legislature against Fred Finn, is basically uneducated about the issues, and the challenges facing the county. Her handlers — the same puppetmasters pulling the strings of Port Orchard’s Mayor — have tried to get Simpson focused, but she seems to resist their efforts. Her main mantra has been about requiring performance audits of all county departments, and not too much else — like implementation of those audit recommendations.

• Court of Appeals — Division 2 District 3 — Dual Endorsement: Pam Loginsky and Thomas Bjorgen: Two good choices here. Either is a winner for the voters.

• Kitsap County Superior Court — Jennifer Forbes: A highly qualified attorney with a good legal mind. We’ve witnessed Forbes in action in a wide variety of circumstances over a number of years and like what we’ve seen. She should be an excellent judge.

Her opponent, Karen Klein, has misrepresented her experience in campaign literature and made no attempt to correct it we’re aware of. That’s not a good sign.

MASON COUNTY

• Mason County Commissioner — Position 1 — Randy Neatherlin: Neatherlin is a good guy, a strong personality, a businessman, and someone who understands the concept of servant leadership. He’s also a fiscal conservative and was elected in the primary as an independent. We feel this will give him an edge in making truly pragmatic decisions because he has no loyalty to either ideology — only to the people who elect him.

• Mason County Commissioner — Position 2 — Tim Sheldon: While we really haven’t liked the way Sheldon has run roughshod over the Sheriff’s law enforcement budget, taken as a whole, his actions as a commissioner have been generally pragmatic and positive for the county. He deserves re-election.

• Mason County Commissioner — Position 3 — Terri Jefferys: Another independent beholden to neither party. Is Mason County starting a trend?

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