Eric Kalia is a thoughtful young man. He has run for office a couple of times, last year for the Richland City Council and now for state Legislature. He would be an interesting and amiable person to share a cup of coffee with. We like him. But he is not, at least not yet, the man to send to Olympia.
Some of his more interesting ideas include providing free tuition at the community colleges and engaging more average citizens and people of color in the political process. These are ideas worth exploring.
Kalia’s opponent, Larry Haler, is a seasoned community leader who represents the 8th District well in Olympia. He has the experience, knowledge and leadership skills to make sure the rest of the state knows we’re here and what our community contributes to the rest of the state.
He has served on several committees in his 10 years in the Legislature, including a couple of different education committees and the appropriations committee.
Education and appropriations are going to be a difficult courtship in the upcoming session. With the McCleary decision hanging over the lawmakers’ heads, the money to adequately fund schools has to come from somewhere. And all other agencies will have their hands out as well.
It’s not going to be an easy task. It will be good to have Haler’s experience in this session.
Almost every candidate we’ve ever talked to says he or she “works across party lines” and “reaches across the aisle.” But sometimes that walk doesn’t line up with the talk.
When you listen to Haler, he lists the Republican Party talking points. We suppose that is to be expected. But he also does a good job of looking beyond party platitudes.
It’s a delicate dance in the Legislature to represent an area where the majority of your constituents are in the state’s minority politically.
To be successful takes a lot of networking with other lawmakers.
In our case, it also takes a leader who will educate his fellow representatives on issues that are important to us, like Hanford and agriculature, but misunderstood or under-represented on the west side.
Haler deserves to continue to lead the 8th District.