Here is a final recap of the editorial board’s 2016 endorsements. The full versions can be read at our website (see accompanying information box). Agree or disagree, but please vote. Mailed ballots must be postmarked by Election Day (Tuesday). Drop boxes close at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Follow election results and coverage at www.spokesman.com.
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump did not accept our invitation for an endorsement interview, but dozens of other candidates and proponents of ballot measures did, from early June to early October. We thank them all. We have finished publishing endorsements, and those can be read at our website (see accompanying information box). The following is a quick review of endorsements in each race. Agree or disagree, but please vote.
The final two Spokesman-Review endorsements cover the insurance commissioner’s race and a simple housekeeping measure related to redistricting. Insurance Commissioner. When full-scale implementation of the Affordable Care Act occurred, Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler was prepared. As a result, the state had one of the nation’s smoothest transitions to the new insurance market. Since then, he’s made sure insurance companies have complied with the many requirements of the federal law.
Gov. Jay Inslee has a sunny re-election pitch: Economy has rebounded; big investments in education and transportation; definitive action on climate change. And while much of that occurred while he was governor, it’s a stretch to say he led the charge on any of those issues except for climate change, where he imposed carbon caps on certain industries after the Legislature failed to act. The economic revival is driven by the Seattle boom. The economy looks far different elsewhere. Inslee stumped for a transportation revenue package, but the heavy lifting was done at the legislative level.
Under Initiative 1433, the minimum wage in Metaline Falls, in depressed Pend Oreille County, will be higher than Portland’s by 2020. Proponents wish to take the state’s relatively high minimum wage and boost it even more, from Sammamish to St. John to Sunnyside. In addition, the initiative would require every employer to provide sick leave (at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours worked).
Initiative 732 proposes a carbon tax and frames it as an economist would: If you want less of something, tax it. So it taxes carbon and lowers the sales tax to achieve a roughly revenue-neutral result. As a result, carbon would finally have a price, which would temper its use and make energy alternatives more competitive, and the state could become a model for lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Consumers would see the tax at gas pumps and in their power bills. They’d get a break of 1 percentage point in the state sales tax.
Two Washington state ballot initiatives deal with campaign finance reform. Our recommendations: Initiative 1464: This reform effort spans two dozen pages and tries to achieve many goals. Too many. Boiling it down to a signature-gathering pitch must’ve been quite a challenge.
Initiative 1491. This measure would give loved ones and law enforcement a speedy way to petition a court to have a gun removed from someone who poses harm to themselves and others. Advocates tried to get the Legislature to adopt “extreme risk protection orders,” but like most gun issues, lawmakers would rather bury them than take a vote. I-594, the background check measure, was easily passed by voters after legislators failed to act.
The two congressional races on Spokane County ballots feature the 5th Congressional District and a U.S. Senate seat. U.S. Senate: You won’t see U.S. Sen. Patty Murray on TV pounding the partisan talking points and widening the divide. That doesn’t mean she isn’t partisan (she is a close adviser to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid), but it shows she has the temperament to keep the door open to negotiation and compromise. The popular narrative is that Congress is hopelessly gridlocked, but it’s only partly true.
In the primary races for lieutenant governor and lands commissioner, the editorial board selected candidates who didn’t advance to the general election. The following are our reassessments in those contests. Lt. Governor: State Sen. Cyrus Habib, D-Bellevue, finished first in a crowded field, collecting a mere 22 percent of the vote. Marty McClendon, a Gig Harbor Republican, finished a close second.