Opinion

PubliCola Picks Roger Goodman and Eric Oemig in the 45th Legislative District

By PublicolaPicks October 25, 2010



PubliCola picks Rep. Roger Goodman for State Rep., District 45, Position 1

Goodman, a Kirkland attorney, entered the legislature in 2006 with a reputation as a flaming liberal (for example, he was the leading advocate for pot legalization). And while Goodman has stuck by his progressive values (a 94 percent voting record on pro-environmental legislation; an 89 percent pro-workers' rights voting record; and longstanding endorsements from NARAL Pro-Choice Washington and Planned Parenthood), he's now best known, as vice chair of the house judiciary committee, for passing laws (with unanimous bipartisan support!) to crack down on drunk drivers---winning him the endorsement of the state troopers' association and the state sheriffs' and police chiefs' association.

Goodman really impressed us earlier this year when he sponsored a bill that attempted to overturn Gov. Chris Gregoire's veto from the previous year of legislation that would have expanded the definition of basic education to include early learning for low-income kids. Although Gregoire again vetoed that portion of his bill, Goodman's bill also went a step further, creating a state version of  Head Start to invest in early learning for low-income kids---with bipartisan support.

Goodman's opponent, Carnation resident and Seattle Police Department sergeant Kevin Haistings, has received maximum donations from all the wrong people—the oil industry, the insurance industry, the Building Industry Association of Washington, and Wal-Mart. And it's no wonder: His unimaginative talking points about downsizing government come straight out of the Republican playbook.

We prefer Goodman's bipartisanship (Haistings is most famous for tossing a video cameraman out of a Dino Rossi campaign event in 2008) over Haistings' "Just Say No" agenda.

PubliCola picks Sen. Eric Oemig for State Sen., District 45

Year after year after year, Democrats pledge to close corporate tax breaks like the $4 million to $5 million annual tax break for TransAlta. Last session, Sen. Oemig actually did it (before the governor got the House to kill it), convincing his senate colleagues to close a $4 to $5 million tax break for TransAlta's Centrailia coal plant—the largest single-source greenhouse gas polluter in the state.

That, along with the fact that Oemig is part of the ed reform Stand for Children slate, is going to have to be enough for us, because otherwise, we're not so hot on Oemig's dilettantish crusades for campaign finance reform and impeaching George W. Bush. The former is important, but not a top priority (particularly in a state with excellent disclosure laws) and the latter was left-wing grandstanding, an emotional distraction that only escalated partisanship and took time away from important state business.

Oh, and there is one other thing working in Oemig's favor. As PubliCola first reported, Oemig, who lives in Kirkland, has the honor of being the only state-level candidate being targeted by the now-infamous Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party front group that's being funded by the billionaire Koch family. Kirby Wilbur, the former right wing talk jock, is heading up AFP's local anti-Oemig effort, which is currently being investigated by the Public Disclosure Commission for failing to disclose its funders.

Oemig's opponent, former Microsoft exec turned PTSA activist and Redmond soccer dad Andy Hill, doesn't really need Koch's help. He's crushing Oemig in fundraising, with $346,000 raised to Oemig's $265,000, including donations from anti-transit Eastside developer Kemper Freeman; the oil industry; and a notable series of top contributions from the pharmaceutical industry (not a good sign when it comes to trying to rein in prescription drug costs.)

Read our complete list of PubliCola Picks for Nov. 2, including our initial list of 32 No Brainers, here. It's the most comprehensive set of endorsements in the state.
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