During her time in the Legislature, Democrat Monica Stonier has developed into a strong leader for progressive causes while maintaining an ability to work with Republicans. Because of these and other traits, The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends that she be reelected as representative from the 49th Legislative District, Position 2.
This is merely a recommendation designed to generate discussion and help inform voters. The Columbian trusts that voters will study the candidates and the issues before casting an informed ballot.
In Stonier, they will find an engaged representative with a strong understanding of the roles and responsibilities of state government. Regarding climate change, for example, she told the editorial board, “To not accept and take full responsibility for the impact that we as humans … have on the climate, would be a failure on my part as an elected official.”
Voters also will find that Stonier, who has a background in education, focuses much of her legislative efforts in that direction. She was the lead sponsor of a Breakfast After the Bell bill that received overwhelming support in both chambers and was signed into law in 2018, and she championed a bill to reconfigure high school graduation requirements.
Along the way, Stonier has been chosen as the House majority floor leader while also serving as chair of the Financial Education Public Private Partnership and the Working Families Caucus.
Equally important, Stonier has found common ground with Republicans where possible. She worked with Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, to help pass legislation limiting exemptions for childhood immunizations and supported Harris’ efforts that raised the age for tobacco purchases in the state to 21.
Now, she hopes to return to a Legislature that will be facing new challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic. “I have a lot of work that I’ve started that I want to continue,” she said during an interview. “And the work that I’ve done in the past, it’s going to turn out, is going to need some reevaluation and some reassessment, mid- and post-COVID.”
Stonier is facing Republican Park Llafet in the general election, after each candidate advanced out of a three-person primary. Llafet opposes an education initiative supported by Stonier to require comprehensive sex education in public schools. The new law — which is facing a ballot measure that would overturn it — includes a provision allowing parents to withdraw students from the curriculum.
“I’m very well aware of that provision, but nobody is stopping to think what that means for the child who has to leave the classroom,” Llafet told The Columbian. “Everybody knows that junior high is one of the worst places for bullies, for intimidation.”
Llafet also supports service cuts rather than tax increases to make up the state’s COVID-caused budget deficit. But he declines to specify where cuts should be made, saying, “You have to go back to your legislator and let them wrestle with it.”
Stonier takes a more holistic view of state government. She long has worked to make systems inclusive for citizens regardless of race or income level, demonstrating an understanding of — and commitment to — people from varied backgrounds. Because of that and her effectiveness as a lawmaker, she has been a strong representative for her constituents.
The Columbian recommends Monica Stonier for state representative from the 49th District, Position 2.