Take a deep breath South Whidbey, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. After weeks of keeping silent and running straight letters on the opinion page — yes, it was exceedingly difficult — here it is: The Record’s general election endorsements.
Starting with the much debated and heated race for state Senate, we’ll be casting our vote for Angie Homola. This was not an easy choice; neither Homola nor incumbent Barbara Bailey are the villains their critics make them out to be, and both are experienced government leaders and champions of their platforms. Both have done good work, but we believe Homola is ultimately a better fit for South Whidbey.
The former county commissioner is dedicated, studious (irritatingly so at times) and exceptionally hardworking. She has experience keeping the wheels of government turning when revenues crash and has been a champion of transparency and the environment. She also takes the threat of climate change seriously and will be a voice on this issue in Olympia. Washington will need that in the years ahead.
Bailey has done some good things as well, her work making historic reductions to college tuition and her support of the Dream Act chief among them. Republicans who can’t endure Homola’s progressive positions would do fine casting a vote for Bailey.
In other state races, Norma Smith is our choice for position 1 in the House of Representative’s 10th Legislative District. She’s been a stalwart warrior for Whidbey ferries, sponsored a bill that created the Joint Center for Deployment and Research in Earth Abundant Materials, also referred to as JC Dream; and has made herself accessible and responsive to South Whidbey residents. Write-in challenger Scott Chaplin is sharp but we won’t support a last-minute candidate simply because he has a “D” behind his name. If the Democrats wanted to challenge Smith, they should have done it long ago giving voters the benefit of getting to know the person during the many political forums and events on South Whidbey. As for Michael Scott, a Libertarian, it’s our opinion that any candidate who’s unwilling to participate in the democratic process of voter education — he declined to go to forums and is exceedingly shy of press — has no place in elected office.
For position 2 in the House’s 10th Legislative District, Dave Hayes deserves another two years as well. While South Whidbey residents may not agree with all his positions, his seat on the House Education Committee makes him a valuable player concerning Olympia’s mandate to comply with the McCleary decision. Also, his experience in law enforcement will be needed as mental health and all its complexities becomes an increasingly discussed topic in the Legislature.
In local politics, Helen Price Johnson has our vote for county commissioner. She’s been a strong voice for South Whidbey for eight years and we see no compelling reason for her retirement. Challenger Gary Wray is a good voice for Republican values, but his position concerning Freeland sewers, that county government shouldn’t help with the tab, goes too far. Freeland is part of rural Island County and deserves financial assistance.
Finally, Jill Johnson should retain her seat as well. Her politics are moderate for a conservative, she’s generally straight forward and is a dedicated advocate for Oak Harbor — exactly what she should be. To us, she’s as fitting a representative to Oak Harbor as Price Johnson is to South Whidbey.