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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Endorsements and editorials are made solely by the ownership of this newspaper. As is the case at most newspapers across the nation, The Spokesman-Review newsroom and its editors are not a part of this endorsement process. (Learn more.)

Editorial Endorsements: Holy, Volz and Graham for District 6

To our readers:

Dave Wilson, candidate for District 6, Position 2, does not endorse Initiative 940, the Police Training and Criminal Liability in Cases of Deadly Force Measure, as was originally stated in this endorsement for the position on Oct. 26, 2018. The text below was changed on Oct. 27 to reflect this correction.

Voters in Washington’s 6th Legislative District have clear choices when they step into the ballot box. Jeff Holy, Mike Volz and Jenny Graham would best represent the region.

Jeff Holy for Senate

Republican Rep. Jeff Holy, running for the Senate seat left open by Sen. Mike Baumgartner’s decision to step down to run for Spokane County treasurer, is a far better fit for the conservative, rural 6th District than his Democratic opponent, Jessa Lewis.

Holy, who served three terms in the House, is an experienced legislator with a pro-business record. He has devoted much of his time in office to promoting legislation that will improve economic development. He is also a staunch advocate of charter schools.

Professionally, Holy is an attorney and former Spokane police detective.

Lewis is a political novice who believes her experience in nonprofit work and as a government employee will help her get up to speed quickly in the Senate, but we have our doubts. Her progressive political views — pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-welfare — aren’t likely to sit well with the district’s voters.

Holy has been a solid legislator throughout his three terms. He has worked hard for the district and represents it well. He has earned the chance to do more good work in the Senate. We endorse Jeff Holy.

Two newly formed political committees funded by conservatives are trying to convince progressives to write in Joe Pakootas instead of voting for Lewis. Pakootas, who is the state Democratic Party vice chairman, is not running and is telling friends not to write in his name. (

Mike Volz for Position 1

Republican Rep. Mike Volz is facing Democratic challenger Kay Murano as he seeks a second term. We have policy differences with both candidates but believe that Volz is the better choice.

We didn’t favor Volz in his run in 2016 because we feared he was sympathetic to the populist strain exemplified by Brexit, Donald Trump and a retreat by some Republicans on free trade. Thankfully, he has not proved to be that kind of reactionary in office. Instead, he has been a solid pro-business Republican with a strong commitment to education.

That said, we do have policy differences with him. For example, earlier this year he voted for a public records bill that would have kept legislators’ calendars and other records secret from the public. Even as a member of the committee tasked with coming up with a new version, he seeks to create a loophole for some communication.

But we have even sharper disagreements with Murano, who has served as the executive director of the Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium for three years. Her desire to upend the tenant-landlord relationship across the state is problematic. Her proposal would put the hand of government on the scale in favor of tenants, creating strong disincentives for property owners to lease their units other than as Airbnbs.

She also supports three bad initiatives on the ballot for carbon taxes, gun regulations and making it easier to prosecute police officers involved in shootings.

Mike Volz is clearly the better choice.

Jenna Graham for Position 2

Two novices are running to replace Jeff Holy. Both Republican Jenny Graham and Democrat Dave Wilson have small-business backgrounds, which would bring a welcome perspective to the House. Though we think her anti-tax rhetoric tends to be a bit too strident, we believe Graham would make the better representative.

Graham’s views on a variety of issues — government regulation, public safety, education and the environment — would bring a dose of conservative common-sense to the House. She thinks the state has overreached on regulation, and it has. She would be a strong advocate for business and industry.

Wilson, who has run before as an independent, used to be a Republican and now wants to bring a voice of moderation into politics. He is right that many people in the center don’t currently have a voice in government.

We also agree with his criticisms of the initiative process, which too often brings to vote matters that should be handled by the Legislature. But we disagree with his decision to support two of the three initiatives mentioned above — imposing a carbon tax and increasing gun control regulations.

Wilson would most likely be a more moderate voice in the Legislature than Graham, and that has some appeal. But, in the final analysis, we believe Graham would take positions on a multitude of issues that would better represent District 6 and better serve the state.