It comes as no surprise that a respected magazine has named Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed as one of the top public officials in the United States.
Governing magazine honored Reed for his 30 years of service to the state -- particularly for his handling of the nation's closest gubernatorial election and leading the reforms that followed.
Reed "exuded fairness in managing a disputed gubernatorial election in 2004, then reformed the administration of elections in his state," the magazine said in announcing his selection.
He and seven other officials from across the country were cited for demonstrating "a notable positive impact" on their communities.
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Calling the award "an amazing honor," Reed said that many others, including the governor, legislators and elections officials from all over the state, should share in the award.
As The News Tribune in Tacoma editorialized: "In 2004, ... Reed was at the center of the firestorm created by one of the closest gubernatorial races in U.S. history. Two recounts, multiple lawsuits and six months later, Reed -- a Republican -- declared that Democrat Chris Gregoire had beaten Republican Dino Rossi by 133 votes out of nearly 3 million cast."
That is the very definition of integrity.
For himself, Reed said, "One of my real passions has been promoting fair, accurate, accessible, secure elections and really getting people involved in their government and their communities.
"This national recognition inspires us to redouble our efforts and be a role model. The work of reform and improvement never ends."
For our part, we think state government should buy a big spotlight for the Capitol building in Olympia and slip a transparency of the Great Seal of Washington over the lens.
Then, whenever there is a crisis, they could merely turn it on, point it at the nearest cloud and have the state seal reflect back down from the heavens.
This would alert the Keeper of the Great Seal of Washington -- by law, that's Reed -- that he is needed once again.
Sort of like Batman responding to a bat logo in Gotham City.
And it is not just in elections that he has come to the rescue.
-- When former Gov. Gary Locke moved to close the State Library, it was Reed who jumped in and saved it.
-- It was Reed who championed the top-two primary election system after the Republican and Democratic parties sued successfully to shut down Washington's popular open primary system. Top-two seems to be gaining popularity.
-- It is Reed who is leading the effort to establish the Washington State Heritage Center.
The center will:
-- Inspire civic responsibility and engagement in people of all ages by illustrating through innovative exhibits and interactive education how citizen involvement affects the community, state and nation.
-- Combine the State Library, State Archives, a learning center and the resources of Historical Societies and Heritage Associations statewide, all working together under one roof on the Capitol campus -- a national model.
-- Create a heritage network to provide educational and research resources accessible statewide via the internet.
Maybe the Great Seal reflecting off a dark cloud is a little too fanciful for an editorial.