Our choices in the 27th and 29th legislative races

If the 27th and 29th legislative districts were any bluer, they’d be in downtown Seattle. That’s made it nearly impossible – at least in recent memory – for candidates without a “D” after their name to get elected to the Legislature in those Tacoma-centric districts.

That trend is likely to continue in the Nov. 4 general election. August primary results showed voters giving the four Democratic incumbents overwhelming support over their Republican challengers. Fortunately, all four deserve re-election.

• The 27th District – which includes Ruston and Tacoma’s North End, downtown, Northeast, East Side, Central Tacoma and some of the South End – is well-served by Democratic state Reps.

Laurie Jinkins


Jake Fey

. Their constituents must agree; each won 68 percent of the primary vote.

Jinkins, who is seeking her third term, is director of organizational development at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and a former assistant attorney general. She’s a strong voice in the Legislature on education and health issues. Most recently, she has served as chairwoman of the Judiciary Committee.

Her Republican opponent is West End real estate agent Rodger Deskins, who does not appear to be raising money or campaigning.

Fey, director of the Washington State University Extension Energy Program, is a former Tacoma City Council member seeking his second term in the House against Republican challenger Steven T. Cook, a pastor.

As vice-chairman of the House Transportation Committee, Fey is in a key position to again try to help push through a revenue package to fund extension of state Route 167 and other important transportation projects. Last session’s package, which Fey helped pass in the House, died in the Republican-controlled state Senate.

• The 29th District – which includes the southern part of Tacoma, eastern Lakewood and parts of unincorporated Pierce County – is a labor-friendly Democratic stronghold. The two incumbents – state Sen.

Steve Conway

and state Rep.

David Sawyer

– won 62.5 percent and 59 percent of the primary vote, respectively, against their Republican challengers. No Republican filed against state Rep. Steve Kirby.

Conway, a retired union leader and college professor, is the veteran of Tacoma’s delegation, having served nine terms in the House before succeeding Rosa Franklin in the Senate in 2010. He’s much more reflective of his district than his Republican opponent, five-time legislative candidate Terry Harder.

Sawyer, a law student in an apprenticeship program, is seeking his second term in the House. His Republican opponent, sales manager Jason Bergstrom, fared better than most 29th District Republican candidates by winning 41 percent of the primary vote. He’s a moderate who would be a strong advocate for better mental health care.

Still, district voters would be better served by re-electing Sawyer to represent them in the House, which is likely to remain in Democratic control.

Read more endorsement interviews at www.thenewstribune.com/endorsements.