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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Opinion >  Editorial

Rep. Riccelli clear choice in 3rd

The 3rd Legislative District is a rare Democratic stronghold in Eastern Washington, and it has two effective representatives in the House.

Rep. Timm Ormsby is the incumbent for the Position 2 seat, and he’s being challenged by Republican Laura Carder. We endorsed Ormsby in the primary, because of his greater experience, accomplishments and grasp of the issues.

The Position 1 race is between Rep. Marcus Riccelli, a Democrat, and Libertarian Randy McGlenn, who also ran for the seat in 2014.

Riccelli’s resume reflects a genuine concern for his constituents, who reside in a low-income district with pockets of extreme poverty. He is project manager for the Community Health Association of Spokane and was operations manager for the Northeast Community Center in Hillyard. He is also involved in Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Spokane, YMCA Youth Legislature Delegation and serves on the Daybreak Youth Service board.

He is concerned that services for vulnerable populations could be cut as lawmakers hammer out the details of basic education funding. If social services are cut, it could hurt the state’s efforts to close the achievement gap between low-income and minority students and the rest.

Riccelli touts his leadership in getting the Legislature to adopt a transportation funding package that works for Eastern Washington. He notes that the Spokane area will be getting $1.30 in projects for every dollar sent to Olympia. This includes the completion of the north-south freeway. Riccelli also worked to secure the state’s second medical school, on the WSU-Spokane campus.

We disagree with his vote against charter schools, and he ranges to the left of the board on some business issues. We are intrigued by his idea of incorporating SAT scores to lighten the testing load in schools. An alternative assessment would still be needed for students who aren’t on the college track.

Riccelli wants to pursue some ideas related to children’s health by improving school meals (and if locally sourced food can be included, all the better). He’d also like to see a greater emphasis on physical education. Both efforts are aimed at stemming rising obesity and diabetes rates.

Randy McGlenn has the standard Libertarian agenda. Government is too big and inefficient. He says the regulatory environment is such that only large companies can thrive, which is fine for Seattle, but not for Spokane. He wants to end the tax favoritism for companies like Boeing.

McGlenn would like to see the state move toward a consumption tax, which relies more on the sales tax or a value-added tax, while cutting business and property taxes. It would also preclude an income tax. He opposed the recent gas-tax increase, but he does want the north-south freeway completed.

The problem with McGlenn’s agenda is that it doesn’t have a caucus, and it’s a particularly poor fit for his district, where government does provide valuable services.

Rep. Marcus Riccelli is a rising star in the Democratic caucus and a better fit for the district. He has earned a return trip to Olympia.

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