For Congress: Kilmer, Smith, Reichert and Heck

The News TribuneOctober 10, 2012 

The greater South Sound region is a nexus of four of Washington’s 10 congressional districts, which translates into generous representation in the U.S. House of Representatives and a quartet of choices on election days.

This year, two of those choices – in the 8th and 9th districts – are slam dunks. The other two – in the 6th and 10th – are tougher. Our take:

The 6th District – which embraces the Olympic Peninsula and slips a finger across the Narrows into Tacoma – was represented for decades by Norm Dicks, a legislative giant now headed for retirement.

Competing to replace him are state Sen. Derek Kilmer of Gig Harbor and businessman Bill Driscoll of Tacoma. Either would be a capable member of Congress.

Driscoll, a member of the extended Weyerhaeuser clan, has shown an impressive sense of duty as a Marine Corps officer. Kilmer is vice president of the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County; he has effectively served in the Legislature since 2005.

Kilmer has already demonstrated, in office, an uncommon understanding of trade, business taxation, smart regulation, job-creation and other fundamentals of economic growth – which is certainly something the United States needs at the moment.

The 8th District, which once covered East Pierce and King counties, was extended deep into Central Washington last year by the state redistricting commission.

Dave Reichert, a Republican, has tenaciously hung onto to this swing district for six years despite ferocious Democratic challenges.

He’s an even better fit for the new, more conservative 8th, and his extensive experience in public life gives him a decisive edge over this year’s challenger, Karen Porterfield of Issaquah.

Adam Smith has ably represented the 9th District – which runs from Northeast Tacoma into Bellevue and South Seattle – since 1997. There’s no contest between him and his Republican challenger, retired engineer Jim Postma.

Republican Dick Muri and Democrat Denny Heck want to represent the new 10th District, which reaches from the Olympia area to Lakewood, University Place and Puyallup.

Muri, a straight-shooting conservative and Air Force veteran, has been a vigilant guardian of tax dollars on the County Council.

Heck’s experience in public life is much broader.

As a state lawmaker, he was elected speaker of the House. He served as Gov. Booth Gardner’s chief of staff and was the co-founder of TVW. He then spun off into another highly successful career as an entrepreneur.

Muri’s a good candidate; we think Heck is a better one.

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