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The following is presented as part of The Columbian’s Opinion content, which offers a point of view in order to provoke thought and debate of civic issues. Opinions represent the viewpoint of the author. Unsigned editorials represent the consensus opinion of The Columbian’s editorial board, which operates independently of the news department.
News / Opinion / Editorials

In Our View: Reelect Stonier to 49th District Pos. 2 seat

The Columbian
Published: October 11, 2022, 6:03am

As a state lawmaker, Democrat Monica Stonier has demonstrated an ability to work collaboratively and has focused on legislation that makes a difference in the lives of Washington residents. The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends that Stonier be reelected as representative No. 2 from the 49th District.

As always, this is simply a recommendation. The Columbian urges voters to study the candidates and the issues before casting an informed ballot.

In examining Stonier’s record, voters will find that she has worked effectively for the people of her district, which covers Vancouver to the west of Interstate 205 and extends north to the Salmon Creek area.

Her efforts often focus on education measures, including creation of the Financial Education Public-Private Partnership to boost financial literacy among high school students; implementation of the Imagination Library to provide books for preschool children; and support for comprehensive sexual education in public schools.

Some of those endeavors have drawn opposition from Republicans. But there are multiple examples of Stonier finding common ground with the other party. She has worked with Republican Rep. Paul Harris to spearhead several initiatives, including an increase to the age for purchasing tobacco and vaping products. The lawmakers also led legislation reducing exemptions to vaccine requirements for school attendance.

Stonier has a background as a teacher and in professional development for educators, which helps explain her focus on education policy. But her status as a Council for the Homeless board member and her role as the House majority floor leader reflect her broad interests in developing effective policy. Looking ahead, she mentions initiatives to boost child care in the state and furthering protections for abortion rights.

Weighing a proposed replacement Interstate 5 Bridge against desires for a third bridge, Stonier is pragmatic. “That focus on a third bridge that we don’t have a plan or funding for would slow that process,” she told the editorial board.

Stonier is being challenged by Republican Jeremy Baker. Between an interview with the editorial board and his campaign website, Baker has espoused several positions that should concern voters in the 49th District.

He suggests that some funding for public schools — up to half — should go to parents who home-school students. This would have taxpayers funding education with no public oversight. He mocks climate change initiatives, ignoring an obvious threat. He mischaracterizes legislation regarding sexual education and diversity instruction. And he says “we really were subjected to authoritarian viewpoints” in the state’s response to COVID-19.

Instead, state policy was guided by authorities, not authoritarians. But Baker embraces and repeats tropes that have gained traction in conservative circles. There is nothing wrong with a conservative viewpoint, but when that viewpoint ignores facts, it is our role to point that out.

Regarding abortion, Baker says he is pro-life but would not support a statewide ban. Regarding policing, he criticizes the Legislature’s “soft-on-crime mentality,” which does have some foundation in fact.

Indeed, the Legislature must address police tactics and punishment for criminals. But Stonier is better equipped to provide thoughtful solutions and to generate support from other lawmakers.

The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends Monica Stonier for reelection in the 49th Legislative District.