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Friday, October 22, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.
The Times endorses
Democrat Brian Baird has grown into a strong, independent voice who deserves re-election for his adept representation of the 3rd Congressional District.
Baird has been a vociferous critic of President Bush and the war in Iraq, but he has balanced it with strong support for the military, voting to increase pay and benefits for soldiers. He was among those in Congress pushing for state-of-the-art armor for soldiers.
Baird has taken the right stances on environmental issues, including opposing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Baird has skillfully advocated for his Southwest Washington district. He not only blocked moving veterans' health-care services out of his district, but was successful in getting an expansion of services.
He culled $2 million from the Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2004 for the Washington State Meth Initiative. The initiative provides money for different segments of the battle against methamphetamine, including law-enforcement, treatment, training and meth-lab-cleanup efforts. Part of the federal funding will go to the state Department of Ecology for the cleanup of hazardous materials used in producing methamphetamine. Money also will be earmarked for the "Meth Moms" program, designed to help women quit using meth and reunite them with their children.
Tom Crowson, a Thurston County homebuilder and political novice, doesn't make the case for a move away from one of this state's most thoughtful and hard-working leaders.
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