Kitsap Sun: For Congress, Vote Patty Murray, Norm Dicks and James Watkins

Locally and nationally, much hangs in the balance in the Nov. 2 congressional elections. State by state and district by district, voters will be weighing national issues — the economy, the deficit, health care, bailouts, stimulus — along with the benefits they’ve received through the efforts of those representing them in Congress.

Our editorial board has been weighing those same issues, which often conflict with another, and it’s reflected in our mixed bag of congressional endorsements. We’re endorsing the re-election of Democrats Sen. Patty Murray and Sixth Dist. Rep. Norm Dicks, and the election of First Dist. Republican challenger James Watkins.

In the Senate race, incumbent Murray is challenged by Republican Dino Rossi, a former state senator who twice ran unsuccessfully for governor. A majority of our board felt Rossi seemed more critical than constructive and seemed almost lackluster in the debates; overall, he didn’t make a convincing enough case to replace Murray, who’s the fourth-ranking woman in the Senate.

At the same time, our region and its interests have benefited much from Murray. The daughter of a disabled World War II veteran, Murray has consistently championed veterans’ causes, including improved care for former POWs, mental health care for those suffering from PTSD, help for homeless veterans, and funding for veterans hospitals and facilities, including the Washington Veterans Home at Retsil. Last summer, she co-sponsored legislation to ensure funding to cover the true costs of care for severely disabled vets at state veterans homes such as Retsil.

As chair of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee, Murray won support to fund projects benefiting the new Silverdale YMCA, Port Townsend passenger-only ferry and Kitsap Transit’s worker-driver program. She also has passed successful legislation to increase federal funding, and has been a strong supporter of Olympic College, most recently seeking funds for nursing education equipment and a teaching lab for the OC nursing program.

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