Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Schmick tabbed to replace Buri; Colfax farmer is top choice to take over 9th District legislative seat"

I was glad Joe stopped by my office to chat last Friday. I hadn't had a chance to congratulate him or catch up on what has been happening in Olympia because I had been in Mexico the previous week.

Joe is not allowed to campaign 30 days before or 30 days after the legislative session. That puts tremendous fundraising restrictions on him that a potential Democratic opponent next year will not face. As former Rep. Don Cox stated at the 9th District PCO meeting, for that reason, the Democrats may see this as an opportunity to pick up their first seat in the 9th District in over 70 odd years. JOE NEEDS YOUR HELP NOW!! I hope you will join me in sending a contribution POSTMARKED BY THIS FRIDAY to:

People for Joe Schmick
830 E Southview Ave
Colfax, WA 99111

From the November 27 edition of the Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Washington's 9th District will have a new face in Olympia.

Colfax farmer Joe Schmick was selected Monday by 11 of 18 commissioners from Whitman, Garfield, Adams, Franklin, Asotin and Spokane counties to fill out the remainder of David Buri's term in the Legislature.

Buri resigned from the Legislature earlier this month to become director of government relations at Eastern Washington University. Buri was elected in 2004 and had one year left in his second two-year term. Schmick will serve out the final year of the term.

Schmick was chosen over Palouse Mayor Michael Echanove and LaCrosse farmer and teacher Tedd Nealy. Echanove received support from six commissioners, while Nealy received one vote.

Schmick, 50, has been farming in the area for nearly 30 years and operates a vending machine business, in addition to serving on the Washington Farm Bureau Board of Directors. He unsuccessfully ran in 2006 for the 9th District's seat held by Steve Hailey.

Schmick said he is ready to head to Olympia and serve the district.

"I am certainly honored by this appointment," Schmick said. "I know it is a full-time job. I realize what I just buried myself in. I will work hard."

Schmick told the commissioners he wanted to do something about the declining state of many of the district's small towns.

"The reason I am seeking the position is simple," he said. "I have lived here all my life and in the last 15 years I have seen a real decline in the communities. We have to right the ship and go the other way.

"If we continue down the road we are going there is a train wreck coming."

Schmick said Washington and the district will be facing several tough issues. Atop his list is addressing the state's slow business growth caused by high health-care costs and taxes.

"We have to do better," he said. "We are going to have to address this or we will continue to see businesses go elsewhere. I am tired of watching businesses trudge across the border into Idaho."

One of Schmick's first orders of business in the Legislature will be attending a one-day special session called by Gov. Chris Gregoire to deal with Initiative 747, which caps property tax increases at 1 percent. Schmick indicated he would support I-747 even though Whitman County voters voted against the initiative in 2001 and officials from the county led a battle against it to the state supreme court.

"I am in favor of any protection we can give the taxpayer," Schmick said, noting that five of the district's six counties voted for the initiative.

Schmick said he wants to hear from the constituents he represents.

"When I screw up I want to hear about it," Schmick said. "If I am on the wrong side of something I need to know about it. I will do my best to represent the 9th District."

Whitman County Commissioner Greg Partch said all the candidates were qualified for the job.

"We couldn't have gone wrong with any of these candidates," Partch said. "I am happy with the choice."

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