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Wednesday, January 29, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Opinion >  Editorial

For Legislature: Holy, yes; Shea, no

Two legislative races that pose a conundrum for moderate voters are the focus today.

District 6, Position 2: It would be difficult to find two candidates who are further apart on the issues than the pair in this contest.

Rep. Jeff Holy, the Republican incumbent, is a conservative who generally lines up with the House caucus known for voting “no.” Shar Lichty is a progressive activist who wants to push the Democratic caucus further left.

Holy is an attorney and a former Spokane Police Department detective. Lichty is an organizer for the Peace and Justice Action League (PJALS) and a former paraeducator. She also worked on Referendum 74 (same-sex marriage), an admirable effort.

Holy voted against a bill requiring shippers to pay for spills and derailments and to publicly disclose what kinds of oil they transport. The bill also raised the per-barrel tax assessed oil refineries to help pay for oil-spill response.

Holy says his mission is economic development, not social issues. He is excited by the job-creating prospects on the West Plains and wants to assist those efforts. He said he worked to ensure the new Interstate 90 exit near Four Lakes was in the transportation package, and he wants to protect the money earmarked for the North Spokane Freeway. However, he voted against the transportation package because of the gas tax. Polling showed his district was heavily against it, he said. Sen. Michael Baumgartner is from the same district, and he voted yes. Sometimes leaders have to take tough votes.

Holy is enthusiastic about charter schools, a position we share.

Lichty is for the workplace issues the business community is wary of, including a higher minimum wage and guaranteed job benefits. She supports an income tax and a capital gains tax as a way to raise more revenue for education and other issues. She’d be more likely to say yes to spending on infrastructure and on local higher education investments at the University District.

It’s a close call, but we endorse the incumbent, Jeff Holy.

District 4: Two incumbent Republicans, Sen. Mike Padden and Rep. Bob McCaslin, are unopposed. Rep. Matt Shea might as well be, because he’s facing token opposition from a political unknown – Scott Stucker, a Bernie Sanders delegate who declined to return phone calls for an interview (as did Shea).

We can’t endorse Shea, whose extremist rhetoric and actions undermine law enforcement. His fellow Republicans are fooling themselves if they believe the problem is confined to a “feud” with the sheriff. They should have grave doubts about Shea’s leadership in irresponsible anti-government activities.

But we also cannot support Stucker, who has not mounted a serious campaign. So we decline to issue an endorsement.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Editorial updated to remove connection between train protests and PJALS. Spokane Direct Action was behind protests. Two former directors of PJALS participated.

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