Voters of the 16th Legislative District are the clear winners in the race to replace Rep. Bill Jenkin, R-Prosser, in the state House.
Republican Mark Klicker and Democrat Frances Chvatal, both of Walla Walla, are outstanding candidates.
Klicker and Chvatal are extremely bright and articulate with the skills needed to serve in the Legislature.
Still, there is a clear difference in the candidates — Klicker is conservative and Chvatal is liberal.
Beyond that, Klicker has a breadth and depth of knowledge on agriculture and environmental issues, as well as a clear understanding of how the Legislature really works (as in hardball politics), that is impressive.
Klicker has been a farmer in several capacities with his farming family. He worked for 17 years as a regional director for the Washington State Farm Bureau followed by a stint as a project coordinator for Monson Fruit Company. Klicker now operates and owns a forest management business.
His years with the Farm Bureau brought him in touch with government officials, and he spent a lot of time in Olympia working on agricultural issues.
His views on business, agriculture and environmental protection are pragmatic. He comes from the perspective of a need to protect the environment so farms — particularly small farms — will survive.
His approach to business is similar in that he believes it is critical to establish a business-friendly environment so small and large employers can stay in business.
Chvatal, who is also from a farm family (in the Touchet area), has similar sensibilities when it comes to agriculture.
Her overriding focus, however, is health care. She has had a long and successful career as a nurse and hospital administrator in Walla Walla. When it comes to talking health care, and understanding the nuances of issues, it would be difficult to find anyone more fluent.
Again, voters can’t go wrong.
We see Klicker as the stronger candidate in this race because of his wide array of experiences.
His conservative politics are also more in line with the conservative 16th Legislative District.
However, Chvatal is sharp and understands the District and, if elected, would certainly be responsive to all regardless of their political views.
Klicker would too.
What stands out most about both candidates is their sincere willingness to work across the political aisle seeking collaborative solutions.
They understand that won’t be easy in the hyper-partisan Legislature, but they both contend this is how they roll in their careers and personal lives. We don’t doubt them for a second.
Both candidates have many strengths, but in the end we recommend Klicker for the state House, Position 1.