Sen. Cyrus Habib best choice for lieutenant governor

Sen. Cyrus Habib
Sen. Cyrus Habib Washington State Legislative Support Services

The race to become our state’s next lieutenant governor began as a crowded one, with 11 candidates vying for the job before the state primary narrowed the field to two.

Sen. Cyrus Habib, D-Bellevue, and conservative Republican Marty McClendon emerged from the pack once the votes were counted.

In Habib and McClendon, voters have a distinct choice in who they want in the No. 2 job in our state.

Not many voters are familiar with the job description for the office of lieutenant governor. The main responsibilities are to preside over the Senate and to fill in for the governor when he or she is out of the state.

Habib, an attorney, would like to see more public transparency from our elected officials and would like to hold the Senate accountable. He believes passing a budget in the wee hours of the morning up against a deadline is irresponsible, for example.

He would also like to advocate for economic growth here and abroad and serve as an ambassador in that role. He is an advocate for public schools, himself a product of the Bellevue school system, and believes a bipartisan approach to funding basic education is the solution to the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.

Habib, who also served a two-year term in the state House, said politicians too often can get mired in politics and forget what the issues are really about.

McClendon is a pastor, Realtor and the host of a conservative radio talk show from Gig Harbor who says he has the entire state’s interests at heart, not just those of the Puget Sound. McClendon grew up in Eastern Washington and carries that region’s values.

McClendon has never held public office, but has run before and is interested in public service. He believes his management and business experience are the qualities needed to do the job, citing that a former lieutenant governor served the state for three decades without holding a previous public office.

He would bring two sides of the state and opposing political parties together using his skills as a negotiator in real estate dealings to build those bridges.

Many in Eastern Washington feel ignored by Olympia and see too many government regulations that get in the way in our state, he said. McClendon would engage local community leaders across the state and bring their ideas back to Olympia.

Habib says he will have the entire state’s interests at the forefront as well. He is savvy and engaged, and his experience in the Legislature gives him the edge to hold the Senate accountable and help develop our state’s economy.

The Tri-City Herald recommends Cyrus Habib for lieutenant governor.

On Wednesday, the Tri-City Herald will make its recommendation on Initiative 1491, which authorizes courts to issue “extreme risk protection orders,” preventing a person from possessing or accessing firearms.