"Anderson, Sehlin in critical contest"
July 3, 2008 · Updated 12:52 PM
"One of the biggest legislative battles in Washington state is shaping up in the 10th District, where Democrat Dave Anderson of Clinton is under siege by the Republicans.The Democrats' top gun, Gov. Gary Locke, came to Whidbey Island Thursday to help Anderson's cause. Locke attend an Anderson fund-raiser in Freeland Hall.The 10th is a swing district in this race and has been targeted by the opposition, said Anderson, who is seeking a third two-year term in the state House. Anderson's most serious challenger is Republican Barry Sehlin of Oak Harbor, who held a seat in the state House himself for six years before stepping down voluntarily. Sehlin said his main reason for retiring was his wife's health. After battling cancer, she is now fine.Sehlin was well regarded as a legislator and was chairman of the House Capital Budget Committee. He said his return to the political fray came at the urging of high ranking party leaders.Sehlin said the Republican speaker of the evenly divided House, Clyde Ballard, organized the recruiting campaign to convince me to run again. As a plum, Sehlin was virtually guaranteed the chairmanship of the powerful House Appropriations Committee if the Republicans gain full control. The present Republican chair of that committee, Tom Huff, is retiring.If I'm elected, there's a 90 percent chance I'll chair the Appropriations Committee, Sehlin said. Almost all state spending must make its way through that committee.Anderson, in a news release announcing Locke's Thursday appearance, said he has supported Governor Locke in sustaining his vetoes against many bills that would have essentially gutted growth management and rolled back environmental protection.Anderson has come under strong Republican criticism for something he considers a major achievement - authoring and getting passed the concurrency legislation that ties big new development in Washington's island counties to the capacity of our ferries, bridges and roads.Republicans often argue that concurrency could slow or even stop growth in Island County. Sehlin agrees this could be what he calls a long-term effect of the legislation. It's real questionable that it applies only to Island County, he said.Sehlin has to dispose of challenger Hugh Fleet, a Marysville Republican, in the primaries. But as the November election nears this will likely be one of the hottest races in the state.The stakes in the 10th District are high for both parties, Anderson said. This is for control of the House. "