Washington: Candidates for governor

by Max Nelsen

Washington voters face a choice between Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna in a tight race for governor this November.

Inslee earned a law degree from Willamette University. Living in Yakima, Inslee was elected to the Washington State House of Representatives in 1988 and served until his election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992. However, after one term, Inslee was defeated in 1994 by the same Republican he beat in the previous election. He ran unsuccessfully for governor in 1996, but was re-elected to the House of Representatives after moving to Bainbridge Island, a Democrat stronghold in the Puget Sound. Inslee served in the House until stepping down this year to run for governor, leaving Washington’s 1st district without representation in Congress.

While in Congress, Inslee consistently voted  liberal and established a record as a party-line Democrat, according to GovTrack. He had no major committee assignments or legislative achievements, serving on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Inslee has been an outspoken advocate of government promotion of green energy projects. According to Lisa Hymas of Grist, “If Inslee is elected, he could be the greenest governor in the nation.”

Republican Rob McKenna earned his law degree from the University of Chicago. His political career began when he was elected to the King County Council in 1995. After serving three terms on the Council, McKenna was elected Washington State Attorney General in 2004 and was re-elected in 2008. As Attorney General, McKenna “directs more than 500 attorneys and 700 professional staff providing legal services to state agencies, the Governor and Legislature,” according to the Attorney General’s website. During his time as Attorney General, McKenna argued and won three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, served as the President of the National Association of Attorneys General and streamlined his office’s staff and budget.

McKenna is known for pushing for “transparency in government, prevention of domestic violence, prevention of consumer fraud, stemming gangs, fighting methamphetamines and identity theft,” according to the Wenatchee World. He has a reputation as a moderate and a pragmatist, according to the Walla Walla Union Bulletin. If elected, McKenna would be the state’s first Republican governor in 28 years.

Both candidates pledge to make education a priority. However, while McKenna supports efforts to bring charter schools to Washington, Inslee does not. While both candidates also agree on the need to reform health care, Inslee supports Obamacare, while McKenna is opposed. On social issues, both candidates are pro-choice, and while Inslee supports Referendum 74, which would redefine marriage to include same-sex unions, McKenna is opposed.

McKenna has been endorsed by all 10 Washington newspapers that have made endorsements. He has also received endorsements from 61 mayors across the state and the National Federation of Independent Business, while Inslee has the support of six mayors and the Washington Education Association.

Contact Max Nelsen at mnelsen13@my.whitworth.edu

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