The 28th Legislative District — which includes West Tacoma, University Place Lakewood and DuPont — is one of the liveliest spots on Washington’s political map this year.
A moderately conservative district, its voters have generally preferred Republicans. The last round of redistricting pulled in yet more conservative areas around Joint Base Lewis-McChord, but the Democrats aren’t ceding the turf; they’re fighting for both House seats and the Senate seat now occupied by Republican Steve O’Ban.
O’Ban and his challenger, state Rep. Tami Green, mirror each other in one respect: His politics stand to the right of the district and her politics stand to the left. O’Ban, an attorney, tends toward social conservatism; Green, a psychiatric nurse, is a union stalwart and a reliable vote for most progressive causes.
We favor O’Ban, a West Tacoma resident appointed to this seat last year. He’s among the most thoughtful and articulate conservatives in the Legislature, and he has considerable potential for leadership in the Senate’s Republican caucus. We also think there’s value in maintaining the Republicans’ slight edge in the state Senate, which helps preserve Washington’s education reforms and provides some healthy pushback to the liberal House Democrats on fiscal policy.
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In House Position 1, Republican state Rep. Dick Muri of Steilacoom — a retired Air Force pilot — faces a challenge from Democrat Mary Moss, a member of the Lakewood City Council. These are both good candidates with long records of community service.
Muri, a libertarian conservative and budget hawk, has the broader experience in public office. He served on the Pierce County Council from 2003 to 2013, when he was appointed to the House seat. Before that, he served on the Steilacoom School Board. Of the two, he has the more sophisticated understanding of public policy. On the County Council, he proved a vigilant watchdog over government performance and spending. We support his election.
The race for House Position 2 pits a University Place School Board member, Democrat Christine Kilduff, against a Clover Park School Board member, Republican Paul Wagemann. Both are public-spirited citizens who’ve been engaged with their communities for many years; both are credible candidates.
We endorse Kilduff, an attorney who has extensive legal experience with government agencies. On top of her personal strengths, she would keep the 28th connected with the Democratic majority in the House — a majority that’s not going away anytime soon.
Read more endorsement editorials at www.thenewstribune.com/endorsements.