Glen Stockwell sees potential in the arid regions of central and eastern Washington. He sees a place that could grow potatoes, barley or fruits if it had the water.I don't know Mr. Stockwell personally like the other state representative candidates, so I can't add anything else other than he did a thorough job of putting up signs in Pullman during the Lentil Festival.
The water is in the Columbia River, he said. The challenge is getting it to the farmers.
Stockwell is one of four Republicans vying for the 9th District seat in the Washington Legislature that’s being vacated by Rep. Don Cox, R-Colfax.
The other candidates Stockwell will face in the Sept. 19 primary are Tedd Nealey, a farmer from Cheney, Steve Hailey, a farmer and rancher from Mesa, and Joe Schmick, a farmer from Colfax.
Stockwell, a businessman and former Ritzville City Councilman, said if he’s elected as a state representative he hopes he can convince the state and federal governments to finish the Columbia Basin Project.
The project was an outgrowth of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and was intended to irrigate more than 1 million acres of farmland in eastern Washington with water from the Columbia River.
The Grand Coulee Dam is the project’s crown jewel. From the dam, canals spread out across the landscape, diverting between 2 percent and 3 percent of the Columbia River’s flow to just more than 500,000 acres of farmland.
That’s only about half of what was planned. Stockwell wants to finish the rest to give central and eastern Washington farmers more options for growing crops, thereby increasing the profitability of family farms and bringing jobs and economic development to the 9th District.
“The project isn’t completely about farming,” Stockwell said. “It’s about the total economic benefit Washington state will receive.”
The original project brought scores of jobs to the state. Stockwell hopes to recapture that momentum.
He also hopes to see the project bring more revenues to the state. If that happens, he would push the Legislature to lower taxes for businesses and residents.
“The state can be a proponent for less taxation by changing its revenue sources,” he said.
The biggest barrier to getting the project finished is finding the money. The Bush administration is interested in the project, Stockwell said, but he doesn’t expect all of the money to come from the federal government because of expenses associated with the ongoing war in Iraq.
Stockwell’s solution is to develop trust accounts for the project, with the money coming in parts from the federal government, Washington state government and the private sector.
Although the Columbia Basin Project is the centerpiece of his campaign, Stockwell considers himself more than a one-issue candidate.
He said health care is an important issue and would work to give Washingtonians more options for their medical needs.
Terrorism is another issue he’d take to Olympia. Stockwell wants to see more thorough inspection of goods coming in through Washington ports, with embargoes placed on countries that do not comply with U.S. customs laws.
NAME: Glen Stockwell
RUNNING FOR: Washington Legislature - 9th District, Position 1
PERSONAL: 56, married, two children, six grandchildren
ACTIVITIES: Enjoys camping and spending time with grandchildren
I respect his passion for the East High Canal issue, but I think that project is more in the realm of the Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Bureau of Reclamation than state government. In any case, it's not really an issue that resonates much with Palouse voters.