July is here, which means it’s time to talk about midterm elections.
This is a chance to get to know a bit about everyone who’s running for Positions 1 and 2 in State Legislative District 14.
Two Democrats and two Republicans are running for Position 1 currently held by Norm Johnson, and two Democrats are running to unseat incumbent Gina Mosbrucker in Position 2.
Under Washington’s Primary Election system, the top two candidates from both races will qualify for the November General Election ballot.
The 18-day Primary Election voting period begins July 20 and runs through Aug. 7.
Now, let’s meet the candidates for Position 1:
Kathy Coffey (R-Yakima) was born and raised in Selah, a city in the Yakima region.
Coffey spent nearly 20 years as the CEO of the Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau. Coffey also served for 10 years on the Yakima City Council and is currently serving her second term as mayor of Yakima.
When asked by The Enterprise why she is running,
“I love where I live, and I care deeply about maintaining and improving the quality of life we enjoy in our area. I want to do my part to make this an even better place to live, work and raise our families,” said Coffey
Coffey also believes that is why voters will vote for her because she cares so deeply for the community she has lived in and served over the last 10 years.
Chris Corry (R-Yakima) was born on a farm in inland California and moved in 1997 to Washing-ton, where he met his wife Jennica, who was born and raised in the Yakima Valley, where they currently live with their children.
Professionally, Corry has worked in the private sector as a commercial insurance adviser, defining what he does as helping businesses protect their employees and their assets. In his personal time, Corry is an advocate for foster parents, a member of his local Rotary Club, and board member with Crime Stoppers.
Regarding his previous experiences in public service, Corry said in an email to The Enterprise that he has supported a range of candidates and issues in his adult life, but this is his first time running for a public service position.
When asked why he is running and why voters should vote for him Corry said, “Central Washington is a great place to live. I want to keep our district and state free from the policies that are crippling other states such as California. I am a family man who understands the concerns of the people in our district. I want to fight for our families and our businesses in Central Washington. We deserve to have a government who works to support us, not stifle us. I want to go to Olympia to fight for common sense principles such as personal accountability, low taxes, and limited effective government that spends our money wisely. Olympia tends to make broad policies and regulations that do not apply well to our rural communities. We need an advocate who will work to stop that!”
Sasha Bentley (D-White Salmon) and her husband Chris Johnson moved to Washington from Idaho in 2010 and to White Salmon in February of 2016.
Bentley has been very active in the community as the founder of the Klickitat Advocacy group, a nonprofit group focused on gathering and sharing information and resources for Klickitat County. As well as a former volunteer chair for Klickitat Democrats and a member of the leadership team for the Columbia Gorge Women’s Action Network.
“I’ve lived in some of the most conservative and most liberal places in the country, and I’m proud to call White Salmon my home: I love the diversity of our opinions and the diversity of our landscape,” said Bentley in an email to The Enterprise.
Professionally, Bentley has worked as a consultant at law firms to ensure that they are running efficiently and hopes that those skills will translate to public office. On a personal level, Bentley wants to encourage civic engagement, so much so that she worked with her spouse to develop an educational card game about the United States political systems called Checks &Balances.
When asked why she wants to run and why voters should choose her Bentley said,
“I’m a resourceful problem solver, a hard-working entrepreneur, and proven leader who’s passionate about public service and open and efficient government. As your representative in Olympia, I’ll work tirelessly to support working people and grow the middle class. I’ll champion state and private investments, ensuring that our district, from Yakima to White Salmon to our rural areas, receives the resources it needs. I’m committed to working year-round to be your strong voice in Olympia,”
Earl Steven Lee (D) is the second Democrat running for the vacated Norm Johnson seat. He has spent his career as an educator in the Yakima Valley School systems, specifically developing the special education program in Toppenish.
Lee’s achievement of note is preventing a local youth center from being torn down by organizing 3on3 basketball games.
The years of service to his community is what drove Lee to decide to run to be a representative.
“What we need is to establish priorities in our District and State. For example, Affordable Healthcare, better pay for teachers, equality in the workplace between men, women, and youth regarding employment etc.,” said Lee in the Washington State Voters Pamphlet.
Position 2 Candidates:
Gina Mosbrucker (R) With the retirement of Representative Norm Johnson, Gina Mosbrucker is the only incumbent in this year’s legislative race for the 14th district of Washington State.
Mosbrucker was born and raised in Klickitat County and was the first person from Klickitat County to be elected to the legislature since 1982. In her professional life, she has been a business owner, opening her first business, a dance studio, at just 16 years old. She is currently the CEO of Quality Inn & Suites in Goldendale. Much of her work as a legislative representative has been to help small businesses.
Regarding her previous experience in public service Mosbrucker has served as a Legislator for the Washington State House of Representatives Committees Labor & Workplace Standards and Community Development and was the ranking member of the Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee. She currently serves as the Co-Chair Washington State SAFE Task Force.
Regarding her choice to run to keep her seat Mosbrucker said,
“With all my heart, I am grateful for the opportunity to serve each of you at our beautiful Washington State Capital. This continues to be my dream job. With the help of incredible staff, we have passed 9 bills. Government fiscal responsibility and serving those who need our help, remain my priorities. I remain strong on principle and policy, regardless of the challenges. With the help of faith, family and exceptional friends, I have been and will continue to be “Proven Strong.”
Liz Hallock (D) An attorney by trade, a marijuana business owner by profession, and 24/7 mom of two young children. Liz Hallock is one of the Democrats running against incumbent Gina Mosbrucker to become a Representative for the 14th District of Washington State, Position 2.
Hallock seeks to:
“Promote open government over cronyism, science and analytical thinking over religious decision-making, more access to early childhood education and a re-negotiation of our Republican delegation’s mess-ups in the McCleary fixes. I will protect the people’s interests over “pay to play” lobbyists,” said Hallock in a response to an email from The Enterprise.
Hallock makes many claims regarding her opponent Mossbrucker, from where her funding comes from to her noticeable silence on some major issues such as immigration, gun control, and criminal justice reform.
“I have stood up to the separation of children from refugee mothers, while Mossbrucker has been noticeably silent on the issue, even in the face of grievous human rights violations,” said Hallock.
How Hallock differs, somewhat, from other Democratic candidates is her stance on gun rights.
“I believe in the rights of individual hunters and gun-owners and want narrowly-tailored, common-sense gun reform,” said Hallock.
Hallock also addresses “The War on Drugs” and calls it a failed policy and seems to go after the signs posted in Klickitat County by Sheriff Bob Songer.
“Let’s not post signs on barns trying to scare people “straight. Let’s deal with the underlying mental health issues surrounding victimless crimes and stop throwing money down the drain on precious police resources and the prison-industrial complex,” said Hallock.
As to why people should vote for her she says, “A vote for Liz Hallock is a vote for the people, and the people’s voice will be heard this year.”
Noah Ramirez (D) is running to take Gina Mosbrucker's position as the Representative for the Washington Legislative District 14 position 2. He is the youngest candidate running for the position at just 19 years old.
Ramirez was born and raised in Yakima and briefly attended school at the University of San Francisco before deciding to return home to complete his degree in Law & Policy at the University of Washington in December.
Ramirez chose to run for public office because he has been an active contributor to the livelihood of the Yakima community and the Yakima Valley through multiple outlets and volunteer organizations.
“I have seen firsthand what it takes to be successful in this area and the hardships a family can face on a day to day basis. I wanted to be the difference to help those around me,” said Ramirez in an email with The Enterprise.
Having never run for or held public office before, Ramirez is excited to participate in this current opportunity.
When asked why voters should choose him for the position Ramirez said,
“I am extremely ambitious and ready to give it everything I’ve got in Olympia. I am full of energy and potential that I plan on using to get the important things done for the people of the 14th. I know what it means to be a hard worker, what it means to push myself, what it means to struggle, and I know what it takes to make other people around me better. That’s why I am ready to be the outspoken leader in the 14th LD!”