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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.

In Our View: Patty Murray best choice for U.S. Senate

The Columbian
Published: October 16, 2022, 6:03am

During three decades in the U.S. Senate, Democrat Patty Murray has effectively represented the values and interests of Washingtonians. Without the bombast of some of her Senate colleagues, Murray has consistently brokered deals, knifed through partisanship and delivered for her state and the nation. The Columbian’s Editorial Board recommends that Murray be reelected in November.

As always, this is merely a recommendation. The Columbian trusts that voters will study the candidates and the issues before casting an informed vote.

Any honest scrutiny of Murray’s tenure reveals an impressive record during five terms in the Senate; it also reveals recent legislative success. As one of the Democratic leaders in the chamber, she played key roles in delivering the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the CHIPS and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act during the current session of Congress.

Each represents major legislation that will bolster American jobs and manufacturing while positioning the nation for future success. Each also belies the assertion that Congress is stagnant and ineffective.

During an interview with The Columbian’s Editorial Board, Murray said of the Inflation Reduction Act: “I’m proud that we have the largest investment ever in climate change. And, by the way, it is all paid for.”

Murray also has a history of working effectively with Republicans. She has helped forge bipartisan deals to end government shutdowns, remake education legislation and better prepare the nation for future pandemics.

In one of the high-profile issues of this year’s election, Murray stresses her support for abortion rights, saying, “Women’s rights are on the line in this election.” She has proposed legislation to codify protections that were afforded by Roe v. Wade before that decision was overturned this year by the Supreme Court.

That demonstrates a key difference between Murray and Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley, who has never held elected office.

Smiley has touted her anti-abortion beliefs while also asserting her opposition to a national abortion ban proposed by Senate Republicans. She told the editorial board that she supports Washington state law, which guarantees abortion rights up to fetus viability.

Smiley’s suggestion that she would vote against her personal beliefs and vote against her party stretches credulity and demonstrates little understanding of congressional machinations.

Seniority carries extraordinary weight in the Senate; it is the currency with which power is traded, and a freshman senator who bucks her party on high-profile legislation would be cast as an outsider. Similarly, Smiley’s claim that she would self-impose a two-term limit on her Senate tenure is naïve. It takes two terms for a senator to begin making an impact.

Smiley is an engaging personality with a compelling personal story. When her husband was blinded while serving in Iraq, she helped nurse him to health and fought for his rights against an entrenched military bureaucracy. But her campaign strategy is limited to painting a portrait of a dystopian United States.

The question for Washington voters is which candidate is better equipped to improve things that need improvement and to position this nation for a prosperous future. Murray long has demonstrated that ability while delivering for the people of her state and defending their values.

The Columbian’s Editorial Board strongly recommends that Patty Murray be reelected to the United States Senate.