In the election for Representative 2 from the 18th Legislative District, The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends Republican Greg Cheney.
Cheney — a business lawyer, small-business owner and member of the Battle Ground planning commission — is an articulate advocate for the needs of his district. He also is treasurer of the Clark County Republican Party. Cheney is running against Democrat Duncan Camacho, an intensive-care unit nurse who also has some strong attributes as a candidate.
As always, this is simply a recommendation designed to provide information and foster discussion. The Columbian expects voters to become familiar with the candidates and the issues before casting an informed ballot. Such homework is particularly important in a race with two political newcomers and with many voters who are new to the district following redistricting.
Larry Hoff, who currently holds Position 2 from the 18th District, did not seek reelection.
Cheney has some clear strengths to recommend his candidacy. His experience on the planning commission gives him insight to Washington’s land-use laws and the best ways to promote development; and he has served on the board of the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, providing him with an understanding of issues that influence economics, homelessness and crime.
Regarding legislative action decriminalizing the possession of drugs, Cheney told the editorial board, “It sends the wrong signal.” He said laws should bring people into the court system in order to provide help where it is needed.
Cheney said he is pro-life, adding that altering Washington’s abortion laws is unlikely: “Any change to the status quo must come from voter initiative.”
One area of concern for the editorial board is Cheney’s stance regarding an Interstate 5 Bridge replacement. He is strongly opposed to tolls to help pay for a new bridge, saying the cost should be borne by residents statewide.
While many local residents will agree with that position, logic dictates that those who frequently use the bridge should pay more than those who rarely use it. We also hope to avoid the failures of the past, when new lawmakers undermined the progress that had been made previously.
While Cheney blamed legislative action for an increase in crime, Camacho focused on broader issues. “A lot of people say you can’t engage in (police) pursuits,” he told the editorial board. “If you don’t have enough staffing, you have a pursuit problem.”
Regarding homelessness, Camacho focused on the “triad of homelessness, trauma mental health, and drug addiction.” He also supports abortion rights and said, “I am very clear where I stand on reproductive rights.”
Camacho stresses his training as a nurse to “perform under pressure, process complex information and know that decisions impact lives.” He said the Legislature would benefit from having “more working-class people.”
Overall, however, Cheney demonstrates a more detailed vision of the issues facing Washington and the duties of a legislator. His level of specificity in discussing the issues and the clarity of his insight is impressive for a political newcomer.
At the same time, the editorial board disagrees with his thoughts regarding an I-5 replacement bridge and has some qualms about his position on legalized abortion.
For now, assuming we can take him at his word, The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends Greg Cheney for legislative representative from the 18th District.