John Carlson will be writing regularly. More columnists planned.

For the past 11 years, Crosscut has been a place where you can find not just insightful Northwest news and analysis, but also a diverse collection of voices and opinions. We publish guest columns from a wide range of individuals, from academics and politicos to activists and members of our community who just have something worthwhile to say.

Our best-known commentator is Knute Berger, who writes the "Mossback" column and now stars in the video series "Mossback's Northwest." Now Crosscut is growing, and we're adding to the lineup, starting with the addition of John Carlson as a regular columnist.

Carlson, who has written occasionally for Crosscut over the past decade, will offer weekly commentary about politics, social issues and life in the Pacific Northwest.

We invited him to become a regular columnist for a number of reasons. Carlson is a longtime conservative commentator and policy entrepreneur, having co-founded the Washington Policy Center and leading the passage of three statewide initiatives. In 2000 he was the Republican candidate for governor. His alma mater, the University of Washington, picked Carlson as one of the 100 most influential grads of the 20th century.

Carlson authors the kind of well-researched articles from his own right-of-center perspective that we felt would be illuminating for our readers, especially in Seattle. Given the region's substantial challenges, we wanted to do more to challenge ourselves and our readers with thinking that doesn’t fit the liberal political orthodoxy.

At a time when the national political dialog sometimes devolves into a cynical shouting match, we believe in creating opportunities to understand one another. Those only come when we debate public issues on the basis of facts and clear reasoning.

Carlson’s a smart thinker who listens to people of all viewpoints and works from the facts. We know that while his columns will create disagreement, all of us will learn something. Like Berger, Carlson grew up in the area. He and his wife, who have two sons, live in Bellevue.

We plan to add two more regular columnists in the first half of next year, looking for new voices representing the rich diversity of views and communities in the Pacific Northwest.

We have some ideas for additional columnists but want to approach this opportunity with as wide a sweep of possibilities as we can. Especially in a region growing so fast, there may be someone who many of us have never heard of. And with many people exhausted with the two-party system, there may be fresh political or social thinking that jumps the normal boundaries of civic discussion.

Do you think you could produce weekly, well-researched commentary? Do you know someone whose writing would be a revelation to the Puget Sound region, Washington state and the Pacific Northwest? Let us know. The additional columnists will be on contract, but we offer competitive rates.

If you are interested, please email with the subject line: Opinion writer, including a resume and cover letter explaining how you would approach the writing and what you would bring in the way of new or deeper understandings of our civic life. We won’t begin the full review immediately — we will make other announcements as we get closer to starting — but we would love to hear ideas.