By the Herald editorial staff
What happens when two friends run for the same office? Time will tell. But we do know that the 9th District of the state Legislature will be filled by a Republican regardless of who wins.
This is the first time in our region that two members of the same party are facing each other for a legislative seat in the general election.
Under our top two primary system, Republican Susan Fagan and Republican Pat Hailey are competing for the seat vacated when Hailey's husband, Steve, died in office last December.
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Both women are longtime activists in the Republican Party. In fact, the two women met while Fagan was helping on Steve Hailey's campaign.
The race is sure to cause a division among their friends and likely among party faithful as well.
Fagan, from Pullman, gained experience in the political arena as an aide to three Idaho senators over the span of 10 years and also as the public affairs director for Switzer Engineering.
She gained some agricultural experience as a forest landowner with her husband before his death in 2002. Her sons now manage the land.
Fagan would be a sincere legislator and has been busy trying to get up to speed on issues that are important to Eastern Washington. She has some big-name endorsements behind her like Sam Reed, Rob McKenna and Dino Rossi.
Still, our nod goes to Hailey.
She is an ag production farmer, part of an industry that is valued at $1.2 billion in our state, and she still manages her farm in Mesa.
Although both candidates describe themselves as "farmers," leasing your land to a forestry operation is not the same as plowing, planting and harvesting ag products.
As a plus, the Hailey farm is a "cash-only" operation, meaning they only buy what they can afford.
A lawmaker used to operating on that business model would be a valuable addition to the state Legislature.
Education is also high on Hailey's list, and she has worked as an attendance registrar for 10 years and served on the North Franklin School Board.
If elected, she would seek to serve on the agriculture and education committees and would be a strong voice on both of them.
Fagan's political ties seem more closely allied to Idaho and Pullman.
Hailey has been working the 9th District alongside her husband, Steve, for the past seven years. She has traveled the district, talked to the constituents and been to Olympia, but mostly in a supporting role. We think it's time to give her a shot at the lead.
The Herald editorial board recommends Pat Hailey for the state House of Representatives.