"Rockefeller, Sheldon, Harrison"
June 9, 2008 · Updated 3:16 PM
"Ferries and education - they're central to the interests of Bainbridge Island, and certain to dominate the next legislative session.With so much at stake, we believe Bainbridge Island will be best served by the trio of Phil Rockefeller, Betti Sheldon and David Harrison, and we urge voters to back them at the polls Nov. 7.Recall the last session: Faced with I-695's decimation of the Washington State Ferries budget, legislators were forced into crisis mode to keep the boats in the water even through 2001. An armada of bills were floated, and a stop-gap budget compromise reached only after the governor called a special session.Rockefeller, a moderate Democrat seeking re-election to the Legislature's 23rd District, Position 1 seat, and Democratic Sen. Sheldon emerged as key players in efforts to maintain the transportation system so key to the West Sound economy.Rockefeller now serves on the Joint Task Force on Ferries, charged with finding stable, long-term funding sources beyond 2001. A veteran of the U.S. Department of Education, he has demonstrated a commitment to local schools, backing legislation to fund school construction and new teachers, and cast tough, independent votes on health care issues. Sheldon, meanwhile, has established herself as a credible and effective voice as majority floor leader. Her work has fostered the discussion of public/private partnerships for passenger-only ferries, and helped forge the needed budget compromise to keep current service going while long-term solutions are explored. We are confident that Rockefeller and Sheldon will demonstrate thought and pragmatism - and look out for Bainbridge interests - in their upcoming terms.In the District 23, Position 2 House race, we could survive two more years with incumbent Republican Beverly Woods - but this is clearly David Harrison's hour. A University of Washington political science lecturer (he's founded two UW centers dedicated to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of government) and former Bainbridge school board member, Harrison brings a humble but genuine desire to improve the system for everyone.The presence of two school-funding initiatives on the Nov. 7 ballot - both of which stand a good chance of passing - suggest a dynamic session ahead, as legislators adjust their spending priorities to respond to the will of the voters. Harrison articulates a well-reasoned, three-pronged vision of increasing the state share of education funding, easing the pressure on local school districts to pass their own property tax levies; buttressing new and tougher education standards; and paying teachers a fair wage, to ensure a skilled and committed workforce.His views on transportation and environmental issues are also heartening and worthy of this community's support.Perhaps more to the point, Harrison's candidacy represents an element too often missing in Olympia: intellect. Let's give him a chance and see what he can accomplish.As to the other opponents: We tip our hat to 23rd District, Position 1 Republican candidate Phil Rasmussen - who, lacking experience and having relatively few disagreements with Rockefeller, has maintained a genteel and frequently self-effacing demeanor throughout his campaign. That's more than can be said for the Senate candidate, firebrand Republican Dan Murphy. A resident of the district for just two years, Murphy is long on talk-radio rhetoric, and has spent far too much time bashing his opponent to suggest effectiveness amidst the many views and voices of Olympia.* * * * *Saturday: Kitsap County commissioners, charter government, freeholders "