Here are Seattle Transit Blog’s endorsements for the August 7th primary. As with all our primary endorsements, these focus entirely on transit and land-use issues, and only on races with three or more candidates.
STB only selects candidates with strong pro-transit portfolios or particularly egregious opponents, although the generic Democrat will generally produce better legislative outcomes than the generic Republican.
The editorial board consists of Martin H. Duke, Sherwin Lee, Bruce Nourish, and Adam B. Parast, with valued input from the rest of the staff.
Governor: Jay Inslee’s transportation platform is basically agreeable to STB: “The next governor must take an ‘all of the above’ approach to transit and transportation choices – cooperation at the state level and advocacy within the Legislature for transit alternatives.” He also name-checks light rail on the CRC, Amtrak, and complete streets. His platform, and a track record of concern about environmental issues, suggests he would be a reliable partner for transit agencies around the state, although he shows no indication of wanting to curtail endless road expansion.
Principal opponent Rob McKenna says nothing about transportation in the issues section of his website. More worryingly, Mr. McKenna has a long record of being a Sound Transit skeptic, favoring highways over rail spending. He was particularly active on this front from around 2000 to 2003. Ancient history, perhaps (and he did recently preside over the defeat of the Kemper Freeman lawsuit). But he hasn’t articulated a change of heart, and his instincts are clearly to fund roads and lower taxes rather than create high-quality transit; it’s unlikely he’d be interested in finding new revenue sources to accelerate rail expansion.
District 11, Rep. 2: Rob Holland stands out from the field of five candidates. Scanning the five websites shows that transportation is not a major issue in this race, but Mr. Holland has a transportation background at the Port of Seattle. In these very pages he bucked his colleagues there by favoring the SR99 replacement option that maximized delivery of transit. He told The Stranger he favors new taxes for transit, which is a much clearer statement of support than virtually any other candidate this cycle.
District 36, Rep. 2: In a field full with basically pro-transit candidates, Brett Phillips demonstrates a focus on transit and understanding of the immediate challenges it faces. Moreover, his endorsements indicate a good interface with groups in our corner of the policy world.
District 46, Rep. 2: Jessyn Farrell’s background includes the Transportation Choices Coalition, and that experience shows in an issues page that discusses transportation and land use in rich detail. She has deep understanding of the issues and experience with relevant legislation in Olympia. Her opponents don’t indicate any priority on transportation at all. There are a few candidates that stand out every election cycle by being worth not only your vote, but your time and money. Ms. Farrell is the one in a competitive race this time around.
Supreme Court: Light rail opponents are always suing Sound Transit over something or other, so who sits on the court matters. As judicial candidates traditionally don’t speak about potential issues before the court, it’s also hard to know how they’ll vote unless there’s a track record. However, at Position 2 Justice Susan Owens has spent her 11 years on the bench beating back desperate attempts to halt rail construction. At Position 9, John Ladenburg spent time as Pierce County Executive and Sound Transit Board Chair. One of his opponents, Richard B. Sanders, in his previous tenure on the court has consistently found excuses to try to freeze the rail project.