The winners in the race to succeed Rep. Maureen Walsh in the state House are the people of the 16th Legislative District. Two outstanding candidates emerged from a crowded field to face off in the Nov. 8 General Election.
We give the slight edge in this close race to Republican Bill Jenkin of Prosser over Democrat Rebecca Francik of Pasco, based on his broader experiences in business, agriculture and public service.
Still, Francik, who has spent two decades on the Pasco City Council, has the background and knowledge to be an effective state legislator.
Both Jenkin and Francik are smart and pragmatic. They have been involved in public service for years. Jenkin is currently serving as the president of Prosser School Board.
The candidates understand that, if elected, they will be relegated to the back bench of the House and will be on a step learning curve. They are up to the task.
Francik, who works as a librarian at an elementary school in Pasco, is a self-proclaimed infrastructure wonk. That has served her well as Pasco has essentially tripled in size to a population of more than 70,000.
As an educator, Francik also has a passion for education and would put funding schools at the top of her agenda.
Francik’s politics seem to be moderate, although her views would likely be seen as conservative among her fellow Democrats from Western Washington. Nevertheless, her centrist views fit with the 16th Legislative District, which stretches from Prosser through Pasco to Walla Walla and Dayton.
Jenkin is also passionate about education. As a Prosser School Board member and its president, he has a solid grasp of education funding issues and an understanding of the task the Legislature faces in fully funding basic education as ordered by the state Supreme Court.
Jenkin’s political views are conservative. He rails against the state’s business and occupation tax, feeling that his winery and vineyard are overtaxed. Jenkin also works as a financial consultant.
While he does bristle at taxation and regulation, he also understands they are both necessary. In discussing the issues in depth, he is open to taxes and regulation when there is a clear need. He has opted not to sign a no-tax pledge as he believes — wisely — all options should be considered.
Francik would be a good choice, but we see Jenkin as a better choice.
We recommend Jenkin for this House seat based on his wide range of experiences and potential to be a solid legislator.