EDITORIAL: Let’s make the most of election season

On Thursday, Aug. 16, newspapers large and small across the country will include editorials their staffs have written denouncing Pres. Donald Trump’s attacks on the press.

While we are not participating in the effort spearheaded by The Boston Globe, we fully support it and are looking forward to reading much of what is written. We hope our readers will do the same.

Here at home, summer is winding down, but politics are heating up. Joe Nguyen finished in first place in the recent primary, while Shannon Braddock came in second. Braddock, who has garnered a bevy of endorsements, added more to the list on Monday. Sen. Sharon Nelson, who is retiring, previously endorsed Braddock. In a press release Monday afternoon, Braddock’s campaign announced that 34th District Reps. Joe Fitzgibbon and Eileen Cody have also endorsed her.

We will be seeing more of both candidates in the weeks ahead, and we hope islanders will make the most of their visits, talking, listening and asking hard questions. In many important ways, Braddock and Nguyen appear similar; it is up to us to determine in what important ways they are different and then to vote for the candidate we feel would best serve us and the wider 34th District.

In the primary, the overall turnout (42 percent) was what King County predicted (40 percent). In the 34th District, the turnout, at 46 percent, was a bit higher. But we think the island can do better. In a recent conversation, Nguyen noted that Vashon has some of the highest voter turnout numbers in the nation. We cannot speak about the whole country, but do know that Vashon often has some of the highest voter turnout rates in the region.

It is hard to imagine an election with higher stakes than this one. On Vashon, we have our own challenges that we want a strong voice for, but we are part of a larger whole and see plenty of challenges all around us. On Monday, like several other recent days, the air was thick with smoke as fires around the West burned fiercely, part of a new normal attributable to climate change. Meanwhile, in the water around us, after decades of bad practices, the southern resident orcas are on the brink of extinction. Smaller challenges also seem to be increasing: local health services that need shoring up, housing that is out of reach for many and a new education funding plan that is causing angst around the state. It is clear this is an election to pay attention to and participate in.

We expect to see Nguyen and Braddock out here often. We hope Reps. Eileen Cody and Joe Fitzgibbon, who are running uncontested, will come, too, and listen to islanders concerns as we prepare to vote in November and then navigate the current and future challenges.