February 28, 2008 in City

Optometrist vying for House seat

Richard Roesler Staff writer

OLYMPIA – Spokane optometrist and developer Mel Lindauer said Wednesday he’s running for the state House of Representatives seat now held by Rep. Don Barlow, D-Spokane.

“I look forward to the opportunity to be Spokane’s ambassador to Olympia and to be a strong voice for the people here,” the Republican and Eastern Washington native said.

The seat is in the 6th Legislative District, a crescent encompassing much of western Spokane as well as Five Mile Prairie and the area around Spokane International Airport.

Also running for the seat is Republican businessman Kevin Parker, founder of the local Dutch Brothers coffee chain. Parker has been raising campaign funds since last fall, amassing nearly $21,000 so far, according to state Public Disclosure Commission records.

Lindauer, 44, is president of Optic One Eye Care Centers of Spokane, a three-clinic chain. He is also co-owner of Lindauer Real Estate Development, a land-development company. He has a business degree from Washington State University and a doctor of optometry degree from Southern California College of Optometry.

A key part of his campaign platform, he said, will be getting money for Eastern Washington projects and causes. Other priorities include more spending accountability, lower crime, support for veterans and education.

After 15 years of treating patients, he said, he understands the challenges and concerns of Spokane’s residents.

Barlow, a retired mental health counselor and former Spokane school board chairman, is serving his second year in the Statehouse. Campaign records show he’s raised about $15,000 so far.

Barlow has sponsored bills to establish the Eastern Washington veterans cemetery, continue a drug coverage program for the elderly, raise credentialing standards for registered counselors, give bonuses to board-certified teachers and make it a felony to falsely trigger an abducted-child Amber Alert.

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