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.