Letter about Stanford was misleading, naive | Letter
March 21, 2012 · 5:23 PM
I can't remember the last time I wrote a letter to the editor, but Adam Brauch's misleading and naive letter published on Feb. 29 deserves a public rebuke.
In his letter, Mr. Brauch argues that our legislators are simply robots who vote the party line and do little else on our behalf. Without explanation, he singles out Rep. Derek Stanford (D-Bothell) for criticism. Somehow, Mr. Brauch manages to write nine paragraphs on this topic without mentioning a single policy issue, statistic, quote, anecdote or other piece of actual evidence to support his accusations.
A simple internet search shows that Mr. Brauch's bold assertion that Rep. Stanford votes the party line "every time, without fail" is false. Last year he voted against his party on at least 11 separate bills. Five minutes of research uncovered that information.
Regardless, does Mr. Brauch truly believe that one can look exclusively at roll-call votes when assessing a legislator? Speaker Frank Chopp runs a tight ship in the House, and typically only allows bills to reach the floor when he knows that they have the support to pass. Since the Republicans have little interest in helping the Democrats pass bills and the Democrats hold only a slim majority, most bills that reach the floor must already have support from nearly all of the Democrats. Republicans operate in a similar manner when they hold a majority.
Much of the work that legislators do in shaping policy occurs outside of the actual House chamber, and most voters I've met recognize that.
I had the opportunity to work closely with Rep. Stanford last year, and I saw a leader who worked incredibly hard to serve his constituents and address their concerns. I was proud to have him representing me and my neighbors in Bothell.
If Mr. Brauch truly wanted to examine Rep. Stanford's record, he would have dug deeper. He would have discussed Rep. Stanford's successes in assisting constituents in navigating state agencies, his advocacy for funding to preserve North Creek Forest and build a badly-needed science lab at UW-Bothell, and his use of his committee positions to shape bills — before they reach the floor for a vote — to reflect the community's needs.
He would have looked also at Rep. Stanford's efforts to repeal wasteful tax loopholes, an effort not initially encouraged by Democratic leaders.
He would have talked about how Rep. Stanford wrote and passed passed a bill (H.B. 1864) that protected consumers from aggressive debt collectors. It was an issue that nobody else was talking about — no activists, lobbyists, or politicians — but Rep. Stanford got it done.
But I suppose that writing a fact-free, name-calling polemic is easier than actually examining our elected officials' records in depth. It is tragic if our discourse has really devolved to this level.
I hope to read future letters from Mr. Brauch that analyze our public servants' records in a civil, logical and accurate manner.