For as far apart as the candidates in the 16th Legislative District are on a couple of social issues, they line up fairly closely on many fiscal matters.
They agree the state is broke and our spending is way out of control.
Although Maureen Walsh is liberal enough that her vote in favor of domestic partnerships got her censured by the Franklin County Republicans and she is pro-choice, she considers herself to be a moderate. When it comes to money, Walsh sees herself on the conservative side of the line.
Her opponent, Brenda High, disagrees.
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High is ultra-conservative, socially and fiscally, and she is among the 17 Franklin County Republicans who censured Walsh. For this election, however, High is running on the Constitution ticket.
This is High's first run for the Legislature, but she has years of experience in writing and passing laws. High founded Bully Police USA as a response to her son's death in 1998 and has been effective in helping to pass anti-bullying laws in states across the country.
She also has some solid ideas on how to reduce the state's spending, such as home monitoring instead of jail or prison time for low-level criminals.
Even so, we have to give our nod to Walsh.
Walsh is serving her third term in the House. She has been effective in working across the aisle, a trait sorely needed if we expect anything to get done in Olympia.
Her service on the Early Learning and Children's Services committee has helped pre-kindergartners throughout the state. It's a program that costs upfront but pays huge dividends down the road.
She also has worked hard on the Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee, protecting the vulnerable in our community.
She has done good things for Eastern Washington, and we expect more of the same in the future.
Walsh is sometimes accused of being a Democrat in Republican clothing.
The charge stems from when she worked for former Rep. Dave Mastin, although she says she never declared a party affiliation during those years. Mastin switched parties from Democrat to Republican, so his liberal credentials are shaky.
Certainly, Walsh is willing to buck her party when conscience dictates, but we view that as a strength, not a weakness.
Her independent streak has helped her work effectively with what has been a Democratic-majority Legislature to advance the district's interests.
More teamwork will be required this year, and Walsh is best suited for the task.
With the budget in shambles and more shortfalls on the horizon, we need team players more than ever.
-- The Tri-City Herald editorial board recommends Maureen Walsh for 16th District House of Representatives.