Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Spokesman-Review Endorses Rep. Joe Schmick

I will have the Palousitics primary endorsements up soon.

Form the August 3 edition of the Spokesman-Review:
Our View: Republican has proven himself in the 9th District

August 3, 2008

In 2006, when Joe Schmick ran for the state House of Representatives from District 9, he lost in a squeaker to Steve Hailey. The Colfax farmer and vending company owner thought he was done with politics. Schmick didn't know whether he possessed the time, energy or inclination to try again for state office.

Then, in a surprise move, Rep. Dave Buri – a rising star who occupied the district's other House seat in the Statehouse – left the Legislature to work for Eastern Washington University. Commissioners from the six counties that make up the 9th District appointed Schmick to take his place. He was appointed in late November 2007 and left for Olympia the next day to join a special session of the Legislature.

He was astonished at the learning curve, but he met the challenge, staying up late into the night to study bills and procedures. At the end of the session, he got high marks from colleagues for sponsoring two bills that passed. He did this as a newcomer – and a Republican in a House filled with Democrats.

The bills weren't headline grabbers, but they met the needs of the 9th District which is bigger, geographically, than Connecticut. Schmick sponsored legislation that will make it easier for rural high school students to find online Running Start-type college courses. Another bill prepared the way for an Asotin County cemetery district. Schmick also figured out how to get $115,000 for an elevator in the county library in Colfax.

He faces two challengers in the primary. Tyana Kelley, a Democrat, grew up in a Spokane family of Kaiser union workers. She lives in Pullman and hopes to "fight for working class families." This is her first foray into politics. Christopher Winter, of Clarkston, a Green Party candidate, has as his key issues a 30-hour work week and mandatory 30-day vacations for all full-time and part-time employees.

Schmick is the obvious endorsement choice here. When he was rewarded for running in 2006 with the appointment to his current seat, he got to work and learned his way through the maze that is the Washington state Legislature.

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