The Federal Way Mirror’s endorsements for LD 30 state House

Oct 18, 2016

The Mirror's Editorial Board researched and interviewed candidates in a host of races important to Federal Way so it could make informed voting recommendations in important elections. Each candidate who met with the board was afforded no less than 45 minutes to talk about themselves, their positions and their goals if elected, as well as to answer a variety of questions posed by the seven-member panel.

Having completed that process with all four candidates for the two Legislative District 30 Washington House of Representatives seats, the Mirror recommends Federal Way residents cast their votes for Mike Pellicciotti for Position 1 and for Kristine Reeves for Position 2.

For Position 1, Federal Way voters have a choice between a longtime public servant and a fresh, intelligent voice that shows a willingness to look at problems in the state from a new, broad perspective. The former is worthy of our lasting respect, but the latter, embodied by Mike Pellicciotti, is worthy of our vote.

Pellicciotti, once an attorney with the King County Prosecutor's Office and now a prosecutor with the Washington Attorney General's Office, displays a honed mind adept at dealing with nuance, complexity, and potential unintended consequences, all of which will serve him well in Olympia. His arguments against levy swaps – noting the existing revenue disparities and arguing that, even if approved, will only work for so long before backfiring – portend a representative who would approach important decisions from a logical, well-thought-out, data-driven vantage point. He's proven himself to be low on bluster and high on attention to detail, and the complicated matters headed to the capitol will be best served by such qualities.

Kochmar has been a fierce advocate for District 30 and for Federal Way for three decades, and her passion, dedication and motivations are beyond reproach. But issues like homelessness, population growth, education funding and revenue shortfalls will not be solved by viewing them solely through a local lens – they are regional issues that demand a broader perspective to tackle, and Pellicciotti has proven far more willing to embrace that perspective.

For these and other reasons, the Mirror recommends voters for Pos. 1 Legislative District 30 state representative cast their vote for Mike Pellicciotti.

For Position 2, incumbent Rep. Teri Hickel is running for her second term against political newcomer Kristine Reeves. Reeves brings a boldness, passion and intelligence to the race that will force attention to be paid to District 30, and she has emerged as the right choice for this election.

Reeves' autobiography – she tells of being a product of foster care, getting kicked out at 16 and finding redemption through education – informs her worldview in a way that ensures poverty, homelessness and the opportunity gap in our community will not be entirely brushed over in legislative decisions. Her present circumstances – economic development director at the state, mother of two and public transportation user – are relevant to the vital issues facing District 30. And her characteristics – intelligence, fearlessness, passion and creativity – bode well for a lawmaker representing a district as challenging as the 30th. The comprehensiveness of her knowledge of Federal Way-relevant proposals needs work, but her effectiveness should come as a natural outgrowth of her boldness.

Hickel, like Kochmar, is an unquestioned community champion and an advocate for our area, but her approach to statewide issues in Olympia betrays a level of circumspection and caution that has proven largely ineffective in dealing with the area's current concerns. Hickel is a great Federal Wayan and a decent choice in her own right, but she is not the best candidate in this race at this time.

Reeves needs to familiarize herself with the nuances of the issues she'll face, but she has all the makings of an excellent legislator and a great representative for Federal Way in Olympia. The Mirror recommends voters pick Kristine Reeves when they vote for Pos. 2 in the Legislative District 30 state representative race.

The Seattle Times recommends: Mike Pellicciotti for 30th Legislative District, Position 1

Originally published October 9, 2016 at 4:01 pm

Mike Pellicciotti, a Democrat running for the 30th Legislative District, would bring a unique skill set and an independent streak to Olympia.

MIKE Pellicciotti would bring a unique skill set to the Legislature as a representative from the 30th Legislative District in Position 1. In a contested race against two-term incumbent GOP Rep. Linda Kochmar, Pellicciotti would be the one to “read the fine print” and make smart, independent decisions.

He was a prosecutor in South King County before moving to the state Attorney General’s Office, where he led health-care fraud investigations that returned more than $30 million to the state.

It’s rare to hear a Democrat say there is waste and fraud in government. Pellicciotti does, knows where to find it and is credible when he says he’d help pass sharply written laws to root out further fraud.

That background makes him a refreshing addition to the Legislature as it addresses the education-funding gap underscored by the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision. Pellicciotti approaches the problem like an investigator, dissecting proposals to boost funding while adding reforms. He opposes an income tax but is open to adding a capital-gains tax for education.

Pellicciotti seems to have a genuine concern about the property-tax burden on struggling 30th Legislative District voters. As a result, he said he opposes lifting a cap on property taxes, which fund county government — a position that puts him at odds with many fellow Democrats. He also opposes a carbon tax on the November ballot on the grounds that education is a higher priority.

Heneeds to gain a more nuanced view of charter schools — which he unfortunately opposes — and actually visit one of them to see the innovations they bring to the education system.

Kochmar, the incumbent, has a long, impressive civic résumé, including a stint as the Federal Way mayor. But in four years as a state representative, she has a thin record of getting meaningful bills passed. She advocates closing tax exemptions to boost education funding, but appeared uninformed about the extensive discussions in Olympia about which tax breaks were unproductive.

Pellicciotti would bring the right perspective to Olympia.

Prosecutor Pellicciotti to run for State House

Raised $31,843 from over 200 contributors in race for the 30th Legislative District

FEDERAL WAY — Mike Pellicciotti, former south King County prosecutor, past Equal Justice Coalition Chair, and state prosecutor, has announced today that he will challenge Rep. Linda Kochmar this November for state representative of the 30th Legislative District.

Pellicciotti, a Democrat and Federal Way resident, is a prosecutor and current state attorney who has been managing efforts to protect public dollars and combat health care fraud. Over the past decade, he has prosecuted fraud, as well as sex trafficking, felony DUI, domestic violence, and elder abuse cases throughout the 30th Legislative District.

He has most recently managed teams of state investigators and prosecutors to convict healthcare providers who steal from taxpayers, returning over $30 million back to taxpayers from healthcare corporations committing fraud.

“It’s time for a change in Olympia,” said Pellicciotti. “We need new independent leadership to preserve families’ hard-earned tax dollars, stand up to corporate special interests, and offer creative solutions to the challenges of public safety, education funding, and job creation in our community.”

Pellicciotti has significant grassroots support. In December, over 200 people contributed to his campaign, raising $31,843. 

Pellicciotti grew up in a family of educators and at an early age was instilled with the value that education can transform lives. He was a United States Fulbright Scholar, who studied economic development. He currently serves as the alternate voting member of the Federal Way Human Services Commission.

Pellicciotti has already received endorsements from Congressman Denny Heck, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, and Port Commissioner Courtney Gregoire.

“For over a decade, I have known of Mike’s commitment to public service, and I’m glad to see him step up to run for state representative," Congressman Denny Heck said. "During his time as chair of our state’s Equal Justice Coalition, Mike has shown a commitment to ensuring the legal rights of veterans, homeowners, and the most vulnerable in our community. With his depth of experience and willingness to take on tough challenges, he would do a great job representing the people of the 30th Legislative District.”

Pellicciotti plans to run an energetic, grassroots campaign that will prioritize listening to all voters. By reaching out to the community and going to families’ doorsteps, Pellicciotti seeks to hear the concerns, priorities, and ideas of the 30th Legislative District.