Opinion

Bob Hasegawa can fill ‘those’ shoes in the 11th District | Our View

Whoever replaces Margarita Prentice as state senator in the 11th District will have big shoes to fill.

She embodied the spirit of a true representative of the people, someone with passion and compassion, someone with a deep understanding of her communities and someone who stood her ground.

It’s probably not fair to judge her potential replacements against her. But it’s imperative that the next 11th District senator at least holds the same values that got her re-elected for decades.

Through her personal endorsement, Prentice thinks that state Rep. Bob Hasegawa can do the job and so does the Renton Reporter.

Hasegawa has a worthy opponent for the Senate seat, Kristin Thompson of Renton, a dental hygienist who has been involved in various efforts to improve the Renton School District.

But her Republican values, while expressed articulately, still don’t fit those of the 11th District as well as Hasegawa’s do, even though through redistricting the district has become a little more conservative.

Hasegawa has served for six years in the state House of Representatives representing the 11th District that runs through the southern part of Renton, Tukwila and the Beacon Hill area of Seattle.

Hasegawa, who owned a house in east Renton before buying his family home on Beacon Hill, has built a reputation as an advocate for education, the aerospace industry and the working class, all important to the 11th District.

Yes, he’s willing to raise revenues (tax increase) to help meet the state’s pressing needs, but at the same time he also wants assurance that our tax dollars are well spent. Thompson talks of living within the state’s means; unfortunately, that means that some, possibly many state residents won’t receive the services they need because of a sour economy.

Hasegawa and Thompson share an understanding of the importance of early childhood education and the need to train and retrain the region’s workforce. But Hasegawa comes with a different mindset when talk turns to actually fully funding that education.

Paying for a child’s education is more than just providing them with a chair and a desk. Many children come to school not ready to learn, because they are hungry or tired from spending another night in the car. Hasegawa looks at the whole child and how best to feed them, to house them and to support their parents.

Thompson does a pretty good job of making her case. She’s hoping the 11th District has changed enough to give a Republican a chance. We don’t think so. Hasegawa did better than he expected in the primary. Still, she’s engaging and mostly informed and may well have a place someday in state Legislature.

Now, Hasegawa brings much-needed experience and clout to the Legislature. He’s filling an important leadership position in Renton’s legislative delegation, something he needs to tend carefully.

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