October 13th – Voters in the 9th Congressional District of King, Pierce and eastern Thurston counties have an easy choice to make on Nov. 2, when they cast their General Election ballots.
Rep. Adam Smith, 45, a Democrat from Tacoma, should be returned to Congress for an eighth term.
His opponent is Republican Dick Muri, 56, from Steilacoom.
Make no mistake, Muri is a credible candidate. After a 22-year career in the U.S. military, Muri spent seven years on the Steilacoom School Board, was a coach for youth sports and he has served on the Pierce County Council since 2003. Those are solid credentials.
Muri’s political philosophy will appeal to a segment of the electorate — the people who want to shrink the size of government, cut the regulatory burden on business and cut taxes. He may be an ideologue, but his fiscal conservatism is a good fit with the party of “no.” The problem with Muri and others who share his views is that at the same time they are preaching fiscal restraint, they are talking about the need to spend tax dollars on, in Muri’s case:
• Transportation improvements along the Interstate 5 corridor.
• Flood control in portions of the 9th District.
• Schools and other services to the military men and women serving out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
It’s the old stand-by “cut someplace else, just don’t cut my pet projects.”
Muri criticizes federal spending levels and the mounting federal debt, but brags about funding health programs at the county level where local dollars are used to leverage federal and state money.
You can’t have it both ways. There’s a disconnect there.
By contrast, Smith has distinguished himself as a member of Congress. He’s a centrist and leader of the “new Democrats” movement — someone who is willing to reach across the political divide and work for sound public policies that help average Americans.
What impresses The Olympian’s editorial board about Smith is the depth of his thinking and knowledge, his ability to cut through the complexities of multiple issues and look for pragmatic answers to problems, and then follow through with solutions.
Smith’s 14 years’ experience in Congress, his intellect and his ability to articulate common sense solutions, serve the people of the 9th District extremely well. He honed his skills in the state Legislature and has built upon that base in the nation’s capital.
He’s able to explain in detail how this nation’s economy was on the brink of collapse two years ago. Had Congress not acted with TARP funds, Smith is convinced half of the largest banks in the nation would have failed. Yes, the economy is bumping along now, but where would it be now, without congressional action at the height of the crisis?
Smith notes, rightfully so, that Congress did more than bail out the banks. Members of Congress returned with Wall Street reforms that crack down on shady financial deals and bring more openness and transparency to an industry that desperately needs it.
As for Muri’s call for fiscal restraint and a balanced budget, Smith said stripping $1.3 trillion out of the federal budget at a time when the national economy is still on shaky grounds would be “economic suicide.” He says everything — including entitlement spending — must be on the table when Congress reconvenes and adopts a budget. The goal, over time, should be a balanced budget, which he has voted for in the past and will vote for in the future.
Smith admits the federal stimulus money could have been spent more efficiently, but reminds voters that when Congress infused the economy with money for shovel-ready projects, the nation was losing between 500,000 and 700,000 jobs a month and the economy was constricting at a rate of 6 percent per quarter. He’s convinced that congressional action stopped the nation from plunging over the brink. While unemployment is still too high, the economy has grown for four consecutive months and congressional action helped point the nation in the right direction, Smith said.
We agree. Smith understands the 9th Congressional District better than anyone. He works hard, is willing to compromise and work in a bipartisan fashion for programs and services that benefit his constituents. Voters should reward Smith, an excellent public servant, by returning him to Congress on Nov. 2.