Walter Backstrom's primary election endorsements

I have struggled, deciding whether to endorse certain candidates.

I am proud that The Mirror decided to endorse candidates. It would have been easier to stand on the sidelines and have done nothing. However, if you care deeply about something, you will say something and, more importantly, you will do something.

When a newspaper takes a stand, it will anger some people, but it will also inform some people. The role of newspapers throughout history has been to inform and be an advocate for things that matter in our community.

I, however, disagree with the endorsements in the race for Federal Way Municipal Court judge position one. Their endorsements of two Seattle liberals was not surprising if you want the status quo. I have talked to most of the candidates, and I will admit they are an impressive lot. I recently attended the July 22 candidate forum, and some of those lawyers were as smooth as silk and had the proverbial silver tongue.

Some of the candidates were polished, impressive and mostly from Seattle. My hope for them is that they run for judge in Seattle — and quit judge shopping. They can run for a judge position in Auburn or Kent, but not in Federal Way. We have our own hometown heroes. The one person who stands out is Mark Knapp, a hometown boy. Mark is not a gifted orator or as smooth as the other candidates. What sets Mark apart is his story of community service, of a father who raised four children. He worked in the mills and the mines. He is a graduate of Gonzaga Law School and a practicing attorney with 20 years of experience. I know Mark Knapp as one of the finest individuals I have ever met. He will work hard to restore honor and integrity to the Federal Way Municipal Court. I am supporting Mark Knapp, and I hope you do too — with no excuses.

The thing about the King County executive race that stands out the most is that we have seven boring white guys and one very impressive woman. I think it's time for a change. If you want the status quo, vote for any of the seven. If you want change you can believe in, vote for Susan Hutchison.

In the Federal Way City Council position 6 race, I will reluctantly agree with The Mirror. I think it is time for a change, and we have some impressive candidates. For the primary, I will endorse Roger Freeman and Diana Noble-Gulliford.

Whoever wins, I take my hat off to all those decide to get in the ring. Weekends waving signs at 320th Street and Pacific Highway. Kissing babies. Going to candidate forums. Shaking hands. Smiling when they didn't feel like smiling — and answering the same questions, over and over again.

Of all the countries in the world, the United States stands out as a beacon of hope because we can elect people of our own choosing. We don't have to worry about butterfly ballots, stuffed ballot boxes or uncounted votes. Very few countries can measure up to what we have accomplished in America. We have done that because we believe we're on the side of the angels. We try to do what's right, even if it doesn't turn out right. Our motives, most of the time, have been right. Isn't that what democracy's all about anyway?

I care about who you vote for, but I care more that you vote. No excuses.

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