There is much to dislike about what’s happened in Olympia these last two years.
The state Department of Ecology has subjected Northwest Innovation Works’ Kalama methanol export project to unique and ever-changing levels of regulation. The Legislature violated the state constitution when it tried to edit Initiative 940, an initiative limiting police use of force, before sending it to voters.
The “McCleary fix,” meant to strongly upgrade our K-12 school system, immediately launched calls for a “McCleary fix fix” that led to property tax increases.
Nevertheless, voting to return our incumbent 19th District state senator, Democrat Dean Takko, is a reasonable decision. But dissatisfaction with the trends in the state capital also is a reason we’re also endorsing Republican Jeff Wilson in the “top two” Aug. 4 primary.
Both candidates are longtime residents of the Cowlitz County, both are good listeners and both have values we believe mesh nicely with those of the district. Their styles and personalities and approach to the job are the real contrast.
The fact that both are residents of Cowlitz County also gives them an edge over the other challenger, Republican Wes Cormier. Cowlitz County’s share of the 19th District could be without a locally residing legislator because both incumbent house members live in Aberdeen.
Takko has a decade of experience in the state House and four additional years in the Senate. That experience gives the 19th District a louder voice and should not be lightly thrown away. He was involved in getting money set aside for things such as the Pacific County drug task force and several local road and infrastructure projects, including the congested Industrial Way/Oregon Way intersection. It’s not his fault the project has been delayed.
In his time in the Senate, he has proved he can speak for us in a way that yields practical results. He has battled against the Department of Ecology for changing the rules on the methanol permitting. By his own admission, he is not a “headline grabber,” and one of his strengths is he can work with people on both sides of the aisle.
By contrast, Wilson is a bulldog and says the district needs a stronger, more aggressive presence in Olympia. A vote for Jeff Wilson is a vote that declares grievances, that tells Olympia, “You did wrong.”
Wilson was successful in business as the founder of Cowlitz Clean Sweep. He is the only one of the three candidates with substantial private sector business experience. He’s a fiscal conservative who understands that economic growth, not more taxes, and fiscal restraint are key to putting government on a found financial footing. Though quite conservative, he also has been successful in his current position as port commissioner, a job that does not reward impractical fantasy agendas of any kind. He describes his run as an attempt to get state government to be more attentive to the needs of the 19th District.