In Our View: Kim for state representative in 17th District

Independent Democrat’s professional, personal experience make him top pick

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Editor’s note: Vicki Kraft is a former member of the Clark County Republic Party Executive Board. The editorial has been updated to correct an error. 

Given his personal and professional experience, along with an engaging and insightful demeanor, independent Democrat Sam Kim is the best choice for state representative from the 17th District, Position 1.

Kim has been a U.S. naval officer, spent time with Hewlett-Packard, served 16 years on the board for Battle Ground Public Schools, and currently is Clark County’s chief information officer. Perhaps most notably, he initially announced that he would run for the state House of Representatives as a Republican before changing his affiliation while citing the GOP’s “ideological rigidity” and its support of Donald Trump for the presidency. The Columbian’s Editorial Board considers this change of view and the valid reasons behind it as a plus in Kim’s campaign against Republican Vicki Kraft.

As always, The Columbian’s support for Kim is merely a recommendation. We trust the ability and desire of voters to examine the candidates and the issues before casting an informed ballot in what promises to be a close race in a swing district. Kim and Kraft are competing for the seat being vacated by one-term Republican Rep. Lynda Wilson, who is running for the Senate seat from the 17th District.

Kim’s school-board experience will be beneficial as the Legislature debates its paramount duty of fully funding public schools. He is against a proposed oil terminal at the Port of Vancouver, emphasizing the need to attract jobs that fit in with the environmentally conscious ethos of Clark County and the state as a whole. And he supports construction of a new Interstate 5 Bridge that has the capability for light rail in the future, while also pursuing multiple bridges across the Columbia River. In addition, Kim bills himself as a protector of the Second Amendment, as well as gay rights.

Kraft emphasizes a need to reduce government waste, taxes and regulations. She has experience in the private sector and now works for the Olympia-based Freedom Foundation, of which a recent article in The Wall Street Journal noted, “For the past year, the Freedom Foundation has been at the vanguard of an emerging effort to undercut public-sector unions by depriving them of dues-paying members one at a time.”

Kraft is a former member of the Clark County Republican Party Executive Board, and she has supported Clark County Councilor David Madore in previous elections. To some, these might be strong selling points on Kraft’s behalf; to us, they demonstrate that Kraft fits in with the “ideological rigidity” that Kim rightly decries.

On one hand, Kraft emphasizes in her campaign materials that any transportation solutions must be “in accordance with voters’ will,” but on the other she writes of Second Amendment rights, “In recent years particularly, these rights have been targeted and/or infringed upon. The Washington Initiative I-594 which passed in 2014 is one such example.” Either the will of voters is sacrosanct as long as it passes scrutiny by the courts, or it is not.

Kim, it seems, would be more beholden to a wide swath of voters and more engaging in addressing the needs of the community, working to build coalitions and embracing thoughtful dialogue from both sides of the political spectrum.

Kim’s moderate stance on the issues accurately reflects the constituency he would be representing in the 17th District, making him the best choice in his race for a legislative seat.