Benton County Battle: Larry Haler vs. the Delvins

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The Tri-City Herald

 

I watched a video today about Washington State representative Larry Haler’s new nepotism bill. I’d say it was the most exciting local political video in a long time. If passed, it would prevent relatives from running for office when they are related to someone else they would report to or were they would have overlapping areas of responsibility. Mr. Haler is the sole sponsor of the bill and Josie and Jerome Delvin are the main targets of the bill as Benton County Clerk and Commissioner, respectively. I agree with Mr. Haler in theory. I don’t want single families running the government, but there are practical concerns. First, this bill disproportionately affects relatively small towns like the Tri-Cities where a lot of people are related within three degrees. Second, when the individuals are independently elected, is it actually nepotism? Think about former United States President George W. Bush and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Third, why is Mr. Haler the sole sponsor of this bill? Could he not convince another legislator of the importance of the bill? So, for practical purposes, I agree with Mr. Delvin: Benton County voters (especially Kennewick voters) are well aware that they are related and can make a decision at the ballot box. This bill would make a lot more sense if it were restricted to political appointments, not running for political office. What do you think?

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