The Times recommends
Rob McKenna for attorney general
The attorney general is the law officer of the state, and should represent the people before his political party. Republican Rob McKenna has done that, and deserves re-election.
Republican Rob McKenna has earned a second term as Washington's attorney general. He has started new public-safety programs, won cases at the U.S. Supreme Court, run the office professionally and supported people's rights.
We especially like his work to support the right of the people to demand information from state and local government. McKenna disagreed with the Washington Supreme Court's ill-considered decision in the Hangartner case, which allowed government to hide documents by citing attorney-client privilege, and he prepared a partial legislative fix for that disastrous decision.
At the same time McKenna was pushing for more information to the public, he increased efforts to fight identity theft, in which private information is stolen from the public.
McKenna is a supporter of the initiative process. His Democratic opponent, Pierce County Executive John Ladenburg, is a critic of voter initiatives, and proposes that all of them be screened by the Washington Supreme Court before being put on the ballot. We think it is important that the people express their will, and would keep the system as it is.
Ladenburg, a former prosecutor, is well-spoken, has a mass of experience and no doubt could handle the job of attorney general. He promises to be "more of an activist" than McKenna has been, and we wonder what that means.
McKenna has won consumer-protection victories, such as the settlements with Countrywide and Ameriquest mortgage companies. He has set up task forces against methamphetamine labs. He has worked to protect the old and infirm against people who would siphon off their assets.
The attorney general is the law officer of the state, and should represent the people before his political party. Ladenburg says he would do this, which is good. McKenna has done it.
Consider McKenna's defense of Initiative 872, which set up the top-two primary-election system. The Republican and Democratic parties despise I-872 and sued to overturn it. It was McKenna's job to defend it against his own political party. Of course, he had to do it, but he could have done it in a halfhearted way.
Instead, he managed the case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and won a 7-2 victory for the voters of Washington against both political parties.
That earns him our support.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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