Decisions by two Thurston County lawmakers to seek statewide office next year are creating a flurry of activity in the previously staid 22nd Legislative District.
The last time all of the 22nd’s legislative seats were up for election, in 2012, not a single challenger filed against the three incumbents. Next year promises to be more competitive, with multiple candidates already lining up to vie for what appear to be three open seats.
Sen. Karen Fraser announced last week that she will run for lieutenant governor rather than seek her seventh term in the Senate. Soon after the Olympia Democrat’s announcement, Rep. Sam Hunt said he will seek to replace her in the Senate.
In a news release, Hunt said his work as a public school teacher and North Thurston School Board member makes him uniquely qualified to continue to help the Legislature meet the state Supreme Court’s mandate to fully fund basic education by 2018. He said new taxes are a necessary component.
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“It is obvious that we cannot have top-quality education and social services without additional state revenues,” Hunt said in his statement. “That is why I support revamping our tax system by implementing a capital gains and carbon emission tax, as well as reduction of certain outdated or non-performing tax exemptions.”
Hunt’s decision to run for Senate is, in turn, altering the races for the House seats in the 22nd District, which includes Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater and parts of unincorporated northern Thurston County.
The latest declared candidate is Beth Doglio, an Olympia Democrat who has worked for the past nine years as campaign director for environmental group Climate Solutions. She filed campaign-finance paperwork Monday to run to succeed Hunt.
Doglio said the Legislature needs to encourage clean energy and discourage fossil fuels. “We need to make a just transition to a clean-energy economy,” she said. “I want to make sure that jobs are protected, that family-wage jobs are created through that transition.”
Dylan Carlson, a Democrat who works as a staff representative with a union of county and city employees, previously announced his candidacy.
Franklin Edwards III, an Olympia carpenter, had declared his Democratic candidacy for the seat that Rep. Chris Reykdal, D-Tumwater, is giving up to run for state schools superintendent. But following Hunt’s announcement, Edwards said in an online post he would seek Hunt’s seat instead.
That leaves Brad Banks, a Lacey Democrat who has declared his candidacy in campaign-disclosure paperwork, and Laurie Dolan, a former teacher, school administrator and aide to Gov. Chris Gregoire, in the race for Reykdal’s seat.
Banks lobbies on behalf of public-health agencies as managing director for the Washington State Association of Local Public Health Officials.
Banks’ campaign website says he “has seen in his daily work the incredible importance of, and positive impact, a well-funded and robust public health and safety system has on a local community and he is committed to pursuing that for our communities.”
Edwards challenged Hunt as an independent last year after initially reporting his affiliation as Libertarian in that race. He calls for defeating right-to-work proposals and stopping misclassification of workers.
“I believe we need more working class individuals in office to bring the average persons perspective to the floor,” Edwards wrote in an online post.
Olympia City Councilman Nathaniel Jones has said he is exploring whether to run for one of the House seats.