By being in tune with issues facing Washington state and by supporting policies that will help create a prosperous future for all Americans, Democrat Maria Cantwell has earned a fourth term in the United States Senate. The Columbian Editorial Board recommends a vote for Cantwell to continue her vital work in Washington, D.C.
As always, this is merely a recommendation. We encourage voters to examine the candidates and the issues before casting an informed ballot. In viewing an Oct. 8 debate between the incumbent and challenger Susan Hutchison, a Republican, we believe it will be clear to voters that Cantwell is better suited to represent Washingtonians on the national stage.
That representation has been reflected in several recent policy issues. Cantwell has been a leader in securing more federal money for fighting wildfires, along with reforms to help limit such fires; has opposed efforts to expand drilling and mining on public lands; has successfully fought for reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank — an important federal resource in this trade-dependent state; and has worked to extend Washington taxpayers’ ability to deduct state and local sales taxes on their federal returns.
One example of Cantwell’s ability to find common ground during times of political polarization was evident in the 21st Century Cures Act, which brings $23 million to Washington to help combat the opioid epidemic. Many provisions she supported were included in the bill, which passed the Senate by a 98-1 vote.
Cantwell has been a diligent, hard-working, pragmatic senator who understands her constituents and their needs. She has demonstrated the ability and willingness to delve into the details of complex legislation, devising solutions rather than clinging to ideology or relying upon flashy rhetoric. She is, in other words, the kind of person who lends stability to Washington, D.C., during chaotic times.
Hutchison, on the other hand, feasts on the divisions that have made Congress so repugnant to many voters. In 2016, when Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas declined to support presidential nominee Donald Trump, Hutchison called Cruz “a traitor.” When Trump was revealed to having bragged about grabbing women by their genitals, Hutchison said Trump “was a Democrat at the time and was channeling Bill Clinton.”
During her recent debate with Cantwell, Hutchison responded to a question about restoring civility in politics by echoing a far-fetched conspiracy about liberal supporters paying protestors to oppose Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. She used a question about intellectual property theft by China to repeat unfounded claims that China hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails. She answered a question about gun control by saying, “A hammer could be an assault weapon, if used improperly.”
Hutchison, a former TV anchor and state Republican Party chair, has used the campaign to repeat talking points that might appeal to her party’s base but do little to move this nation forward. She instead embraces the partisanship that has brought Congress to a standstill and has repeatedly frustrated the public. Regarding the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, she said, “I blame squarely the Democrats who used this game for their own political ends.”
Cantwell has been an effective legislator who has served Washington and the nation well, identifying problems that affect the lives of residents and then working to solve them.
The Columbian Editorial Board recommends a vote for Maria Cantwell as United States senator.