State Rep. Charles Ross announced Wednesday he will run for Yakima County auditor this fall rather than seek a fifth term in the House.
Ross, a 42-year-old Republican from Naches, said he wants to balance public service with his desire to spend more time with his family, including his two sons, ages 9 and 11.
"It's the absolute pre-eminent reason," Ross said in a telephone interview. "My boys are at an age where I want to be home."
Ross also announced endorsements from a number of top county officials, including the entire Yakima County Board of Commissioners, Prosecuting Attorney Jim Hagarty and Sheriff Ken Irwin.
"I think people trust my ability to do a good job," Ross said.
Ross' previous elected positions include nearly a decade on the Naches Town Council from 1997 to 2006, including two terms as mayor. Ross is also a licensed funeral director.
He could face at least one opponent - Yakima Councilman and Mayor Micah Cawley, also a Republican, who has already said publicly he is strongly considering a run for the office. In addition to serving on the council, Cawley is a radio disc jockey.
Since 2001, the auditor's spot has been held by Corky Holloway, who announced in January that she will retire when her four-year term expires at the end of the year.
The auditor's office oversees auto licensing, payroll for county employees, marriage licenses, passports and elections. Auto licensing provides the largest revenue stream at about $1 million annually.
Either Cawley or Ross will see a significant bump in his current public stipends if elected.
State lawmakers are paid $42,000 annually, and the position of mayor on the Yakima City Council pays $16,500 annually. The position of auditor pays an annual salary of $82,860.
Yakima County Democrats chairman Dany Adolf said the party is yet to be contacted by a Democrat interested in running for the position. Holloway is currently the only Democrat holding an elected office in Yakima County.