Rep. Barbara Bailey, a longtime Republican state representative and well-known Oak Harbor resident, is making a strong run against veteran Democratic state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen and would make a decent senator, but this is not the right time to replace the powerful chairwoman of the Senate Transportation Committee.
While ferries may not be on the minds of Oak Harbor residents, they are vital to Whidbey Island’s economic health and the Navy’s mission. Nichols Brothers Boat Builders in Freeland has benefitted tremendously as Haugen has steered state ferry construction work to smaller boat yards.
We can also thank Haugen for helping Island Transit in numerous ways over the years, keeping our beloved free bus service rolling and growing, and for many other beneficial road projects too numerous to list.
Bailey couldn’t get much done as a freshman senator in the minority in the Senate. That’s how she spent all her time in the House, and Democratic control kept her from implementing any of her cost-cutting desires.
With Bailey out of the way, her 10th District House seat is up for grabs. Republican Dave Hayes is a great guy, having served 21 years in the Navy, including time spent at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. Since then he’s been a police officer in a leadership position in Marysville, often involved in crafting crime-fighting legislation in Olympia. He would be a fine representative. Trouble is, the 10th District’s House delegation has included two Republican representatives for too long.
We need one 10th District Democrat in the House as that party is in control. So our support goes to Hayes’ election foe, Democrat Tom Riggs. As a state park ranger on Camano Island, he can kick the Legislature in the pants for gutting state parks funding. He also cares deeply about small business and jobs, he volunteers in the public schools, and does many other things to help his community. But either way, voters can’t make a bad decision in this race.
The final 10th District spot should be kept by Republican Norma Smith, a one-time aide to the late Congressman Jack Metcalf. She is well liked wherever she goes, is known for working in a bipartisan fashion, and genuinely cares about education and jobs. Her challenger, Langley barista Aaron Simpson, simply lacks the necessary experience.
A slate of Sen. Haugen, Rep. Smith and Rep. Riggs would serve Whidbey Island’s interests well in Olympia when the Legislature convenes in January.