During eight years in the Legislature, Republican Brandon Vick has been a dedicated and attentive representative of the 18th District. The Columbian Editorial Board recommends Vick be elected for another term.
As always, this is merely a recommendation. The Columbian trusts that voters will examine the candidates and the issues before casting an informed ballot.
In Vick, they will find a conservative representative who often focuses his attention on improving Washington’s business climate. He is the ranking minority member of the Consumer Protection and Business Committee, and also serves on the Commerce and Gaming Committee, along with the Finance Committee.
That experience will serve constituents well as the state recovers from the coronavirus pandemic and the economic slowdown that has accompanied it. “We’re at a time where the skills and the knowledge I’ve built over the last eight years are important,” Vick said during a remote interview with the editorial board.
That knowledge has increasingly landed Vick in positions of influence. He is a co-chair of the Joint Interstate 5 Bridge Committee, a bistate group of lawmakers studying the future of the bridge, and also served this year on the Business Recovery Legislative Task Force in the wake of the pandemic.
While Vick is a strong advocate for issues he supports, he also maintains the decorum necessary for an effective legislator. That was demonstrated earlier this year following Gov. Jay Inslee’s orders to shut down the economy. While some lawmakers held rallies that increased discord and had no chance of enacting change, Vick filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the governor’s orders. The suit failed, but it represented respect for the law rather than rancorous demonstrations.
Vick has remained critical of the governor’s actions and is eager for the state to reopen. “We’re in a position where we have no end date,” he said. “Do we shut down for 12 months? For 24 months?”
He also criticizes the Legislature’s passage of a bill requiring comprehensive sex education in public schools. “We tried to fix a problem that wasn’t broken,” he said, adding that he will vote against Referendum 90 in an effort to overturn the law.
That is one area in which Vick differs from his challenger, Democrat Kassandra Bessert. Referendum 90 “gives parents a lot of freedom and choice,” Bessert told the editorial board. “I am struggling to see a lot of the controversy.”
Bessert supports Gov. Inslee’s approach to the pandemic and his plan for gradually opening businesses. “The phased program seems to be the most reasonable approach,” she said. While Vick said he opposes any tax increases to help close a state revenue shortfall, Bessert said, “We can’t take anything off the table.”
Bessert prefers a progressive approach to the state’s issues, mentioning the need to extend moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures while paying particular attention to disadvantaged communities.
Vick urges caution, stressing that the state’s budget crisis is temporary and that he would advocate for cutting new programs that are not firmly entrenched. With a projected revenue shortfall of $4.5 billion between now and mid-2023, many cuts will need to be made if no additional revenue is sought, but Vick is pragmatic and experienced enough to help find solutions that are reasonable and effective.
The Columbian Editorial Board recommends Brandon Vick be reelected as representative from the 18th Legislative District.