Sunday, September 26, 2021
Sept. 26, 2021

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In Our View: Harris, Kraft in 17th, Pos. 1

Democratic challenger, Republican incumbent offer sharp contrasts

The Columbian

In the primary election for state representative from the 17th Legislative District, Position 1, coming up with a recommendation for voters is rather simple. And when it comes to the general election, the guess here is that the choice for most voters will be simple, as well.

Before we explain, let’s get to the main point: The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends Democrat Tanisha Harris and Republican Vicki Kraft in the primary for representative from the 17th District, which generally lies east and north of Interstate 205. As always, this is merely a recommendation designed to provide insight and foster discussion. We trust that voters will study the candidates and the issues before casting an informed ballot.

That ballot will feature three candidates for Position 1 from the district. But Democrat James Tolson suspended his campaign after filing for the office, leaving two active candidates seeking the position. In Washington, the top two vote-getters in the Aug. 7 primary advance to the Nov. 6 general election, and the Columbian’s Editorial Board will recommend a single candidate prior to that contest.

For now, however, the two remaining candidates offer sharp contrasts in ideology, which is why we believe most voters will have an easy time making a decision come November. Whether one leans to the progressive or the conservative side of the spectrum, this race will offer an option that is to your liking. Those differences were on display during an interview with the editorial board.

Harris, the Democrat, is a court-appointed special advocate for YWCA of Clark County, supporting children in the foster care system. She spent 10 years working for Evergreen Public Schools in the field of multicultural and diversity education and has a long history of community involvement. Most recently, she co-chaired a campaign that helped pass a $695 million facilities bond in the Evergreen district. Her campaign has drawn support from the likes of U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and state Reps. Monica Stonier and Sharon Wylie.

Harris favors replacing the Interstate 5 Bridge before considering additional crossings of the Columbia River; says “climate change is real” and is a call to action by the state; and says “we do need to reassess the gun culture in the country” while adding that she likely would be receptive to a ban on assault weapons.

Kraft, the Republican, is seeking her second term in the Legislature. She has worked as a senior/account executive for companies such as Dell, Pillsbury and Frigidaire, as well as small businesses. Prior to running for office, she served as advancement director in Southwest Washington for the Freedom Foundation. In the Legislature, she has focused upon reducing regulations and business taxes. Notably, she was the only member of the Southwest Washington delegation to vote against Senate Bill 6617, a controversial measure that would have diminished legislative transparency and was vetoed by Gov. Jay Inslee following public outcry.

Kraft supports more crossings across the Columbia River, says she is unconvinced about the science surrounding climate change, and opposes gun-control measures. “I’m going to stand to protect those Second Amendment rights along with every other right that people have in the Constitution,” she said.

With the third candidate on the ballot having suspended his campaign, it appears certain that Harris and Kraft will advance to the November election. For now, The Columbian recommends Tanisha Harris and Vicki Kraft in the contest for state Representative, Position 1, from District 17.