Change needed in 39th District Senate race

The two candidates vying for the 39th District Senate seat in the November general election have significantly different views on their polices, priorities and on the solutions to the critical issues we face today.

Republican Sen. Val Stevens, of Arlington, is a three-term incumbent being challenged by Democrat Fred Walser, of Monroe.

In addition to the candidates’ differing views, voters must also consider Walser’s recent legal troubles. In June, Walser pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge of lying to a public official. Some argue that brings into question Walser’s honesty, truthfulness and integrity. Walser argues that it was a lapse of memory and that his nearly 40 years experience in law enforcement with the state patrol and as Sultan’s police chief answers any questions about honest and integrity.

When deciding our endorsement, the editorial staff gave this issue very careful consideration and our unanimous conclusion was that the issue should be considered but when weighed against Walser’s years of service in law enforcement, it was not a deciding factor.

The editorial staff decided to endorse Fred Walser in the 39th District Senate race based on his priorities, policies and his solutions for the future.

In addition to his 28 years with the state patrol and 11 years as Sultan’s Police Chief, Walser has served as chairman of the U.S. 2 Safety Coalition, working to improve safety on that highway. In addition to transportation, Walser’s priorities include public education, improving public safety and ensuring fiscal accountability.

Stevens has pledged not to support new or increased taxes and has proposed moving existing auto-related tax revenues from the general fund to the transportation fund. Her “Do No Harm” philosophy is reflected in her free-market approach to solving the critical issues of today.

Transportation is just one of the many areas in which the candidates have fundamental differences of opinions. In her campaign material, Stevens states, “The most demand for transportation is for private automobiles and trucking that moves people and commerce and therefore deserves the most attention. But that is not the way we spend our transportation dollars. An inordinate share (around half) of dollars goes to public transit that moves about 3 percent of all daily trips. And to get the numbers to that dismal level, we subsidize around 90 percent or more of each rider’s trip. Transportation decisions today are more about social-engineering and political ideology than they are about moving people.”

Walser believes that while some has been done to make U.S. 2 safer, “much more work needs to be done and U.S. 2, SR 522 and Highway 9 need to be a higher priority in our state budget.” He also believes “Our area elected officials need to take more leadership in getting projects in our district. We need to expand road capacity such as Hwy. 9, SR 533 and U.S. 2, but we also need to look at opportunities to create more transit options for commuters.”

With the challenging times we face, we believe that new and innovative solutions are called for and we believe Walser can help provide those solutions while Stevens will hold on to the policies of that past that have not been successful.

For more information about the candidates, visit Sen. Val Stevens’ Web site at www.valstevens.com and Fred Walser’s Web site at www.fredwalser2008.com.

To contact a member of The Marysville Globe/Arlington Times editorial board — Stuart Chernis or Scott Frank — e-mail forum@marysvilleglobe.com.

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