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Eye On Olympia

Posts tagged: Don Cox

More election news: Lots — LOTS — of interest in two E. WA. House seats…

Very few legislative seats are up for election in this off-year, but there’s tremendous interest in two Eastern Washington spots in the House of Representatives.

Four people have so far filed documents with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission to run for 9th District Rep. Steve Hailey’s old seat representing the Palouse region. Retired Rep. Don Cox was pressed into service as an appointee this year after Hailey died of cancer, but Cox has so far not filed paperwork to run for re-election this fall.

Who has? Hailey’s widow, Pat Hailey; Schweitzer Engineering’s Susan Fagan, who scored an early coup getting AG Rob McKenna’s endorsement; WSU’s Darin Watkins (described as “Extremely charismatic. Looks and sounds like a politician” by Palousitics two years ago when he applied to replace departing state Rep. David Buri), and Lamont’s Arthur Swannack, who has been the president of the Washington State Sheep Producers. All are Republicans.

Just to the southeast, no fewer than 5 people are running for late Rep. Bill Grant’s seat, now help by an appointee: his daughter, Rep. Laura Grant-Herriot. Grant-Herriot, running as Laura Grant, recently filed for re-election. She’s the lone Democrat in the race so far.

Also in the running for that 16th district seat: Lawyer/former prosecutor Terry Nealey, Paco city councilman Matt Watkins, and Walla Walla’s Kevin Allen Young, who works as a manager for the state Department of Transportation. Walla Walla County Commissioner Greg Tompkins had filed to run for the seat, but got out of the race recently, citing a family member’s health. “I can’t be in two places at the same time, and right now I am needed by my family more than ever,” he said.

Lastly, Rep. David Taylor, R-Moxee, is so far running for re-election unopposed.

Schweitzer’s Susan Fagan raising money for House run…

Susan Fagan, whose work for Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories means she’s not a stranger in Olympia, has raised more than $20,000 in her run for the state House seat now held by Rep. Don Cox, R-Colfax. The district covers a large swath of southeastern Washington, including the Palouse and part of southern Spokane County.

“I am thankful that, given the difficult economy, people realize having an advocate in Olympia who understands agriculture and job creation is worth investing in,” Fagan said in a press release.

Fagan’s trying to tap into the district’s heavy ag vote by forming “Farmers for Fagan,” chaired by Farmington’s Bruce Nelson, a former president of the state wheat growers’ association.

Pat Hailey of Mesa, the wife of late state Rep. Steve Hailey, has also said she’ll run if Cox doesn’t in November. Cox was appointed recently to the seat after Steve Hailey died suddenly from cancer.

Double your odds of catching that fish, with a fishing pole for each hand…

Newly returned state Rep. Don Cox, R-Colfax, and a dozen other lawmakers want to change state law so that for an additional $10 fee, anglers in some places would be allowed to use two fishing poles at once.

The bill is HB 1993.

Don Cox returning to Olympia…

Former state Rep. Don Cox, who stepped down two years ago, is headed back to Olympia.

County commissioners from the 9th Legislative District today chose Cox to replace Rep. Steve Hailey, who died Dec. 28th after a year-long battle with colon cancer.

Cox, 69, was almost immediately sworn in by Whitman County Superior Court Judge David Frazier. He officially became a member of the legislature about 90 minutes ago.

A Whitworth and WSU grad, Cox served in the Legislature from 1999 through 2006. His 35 year career in education —  Colfax school superintendent, teacher, counselor, school administrator, associate professor at WSU — quickly made him a GOP point person on K-12 education and higher education in the House. Likely committee appointments for him this session: the House education committee, education appropriations, and transportation.

 ”I know he will remain a tireless advocate for education, agriculture and fiscally sound government,” state GOP chairman Luke Esser said.

The return of Don Cox?

Former state Rep. Don Cox, a Republican from Colfax, may be headed back to the statehouse.

Cox, 69, who stepped down two years ago in order to spend more time with his family, is local GOP officials’ top pick of three replacements for late state Rep. Steve Hailey, R-Mesa. Hailey, who’d been battling colon cancer for the past year, recently died.

The top three contenders — who will be decided by commissioners from the six Eastern Washington counties that make up legislative district 9 — are:

1) Don Cox
2) Jeff Holy
3) Hans “Jochen” Engelke

Holy, 53, is a longtime attorney and Spokane police detective who lives in Cheney.

Engelke, 51, is a farmer from the Mesa, the same small Franklin County community as Hailey.

Cox, who served in Olympia from 1999 through 2005, is a former principal and school superintendent who specialized in education policy in Olympia.

The sprawling district covers the Palouse and much of southeastern Washington, including all or part of half a dozen counties: Adams, Asotin, Franklin, Garfield, Spokane, and Whitman. Key cities: Colfax, Colton, Connell, Othello, Ritzville, Cheney, Pullman and Clarkston.

Hat tips: Tri-City Herald and Adam Wilson.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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