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Originally published October 8, 2010 at 1:51 PM | Page modified October 8, 2010 at 9:38 PM

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The Times endorses the re-election of Sen. Patty Murray

Sen. Patty Murray has guts and principles. She works doggedly on behalf of average citizens. The Seattle Times editorial board endorses Murray for another term.

THIS is no ordinary moment in Washington politics. The 2010 U.S. Senate race is all about a deeply troubled economy, a sputtering recovery and a choice between two candidates with markedly different approaches to leading the country toward a brighter future.

The Seattle Times editorial board recommends Sen. Patty Murray for re-election. Our endorsement does not come lightly. Republican Dino Rossi tested the incumbent vigorously and appropriately.

Yet topic by topic, Murray rises to the challenge. She believes in reasonable government help for the economy, including financial reforms to avoid another economic collapse.

Rossi joins other Republicans in opposing them. How can anyone watch the financial meltdown and not want to tighten the rules to protect the system and consumers? It's not enough to say these weren't the right reforms.

Murray is experienced and realistic enough to understand the federal government must rein in spending.

"We have to cut back at the federal level as well," Murray said. "We have to tighten our belts. We know that. We do have to look at every program." She said she voted this year to cut $14 billion from the president's budget and reduced her own committee's allocation. But she has much more to do.

Rossi has impressive credibility balancing a state budget. He would bring real skills to that task in Washington, D.C. Yet on too many big issues, he is on the wrong side or too vague about his intentions.

After the horrors of 9/11, Murray courageously voted against the invasion in Iraq — the correct decision.

Some folks say she is being expedient because she then voted for military spending bills. As a daughter of a disabled World War II veteran, she says she did so to provide full equipment and protection for soldiers putting their lives on the line. On the Afghan war, Murray is more focused on ending the war and recently voted for a resolution demanding an exit strategy.

Rossi, by contrast, wants to hear more from the generals. Washington's next senator must have a stronger desire to end the war.

Murray battles to help Boeing win the next air-tanker contract. She fought to ensure Washingtonians could deduct sales taxes from federal income filings, to no avail. Republicans and Democrats played games. In the end, Republicans blocked even a one-year extension of the deduction.

On too many domestic and foreign policy matters, Rossi has not distinguished himself sufficiently from the Republican Party line. He has missed numerous opportunities to establish himself as a Northwest brand of Republican.

The truth about Murray is she delivers for Washington and the Northwest. She secured funds to begin to replace the I-5 bridge connecting Washington and Oregon, which helps business and ports. She rounded up federal dollars to repair the Howard Hanson Dam and protect the Green River Valley. She saved the veterans hospital in Walla Walla and secured funds to add a clinic there. She worked for years to win approval of the Wild Sky Wilderness Area in Snohomish County.

On almost every topic, Murray is studied and has an answer. On the issue of net neutrality, which involves unfettered access to the Internet, Rossi did not have a clue, even though this issue is pressing within the tech industry.

On Hanford, Murray has been an unfailing champion of nuclear cleanup, including storing some waste at Nevada's Yucca Mountain instead of leaving it in Eastern Washington. To do that, she had to buck Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, with whom she serves in Senate leadership.

If re-elected, Murray has much more to do to control deficit spending, help create Main Street jobs and, finally, end both wars.

Murray has guts and principles. She works doggedly on behalf of average citizens in every corner of the state. Re-elect Patty Murray, a solid, conscientious senator.

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