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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spin Control

Billig to run for 3rd Dist. House seat

Andy Billig, the president of the Spokane Indians baseball, wants to play in a different league. He’s running for the state Legislature in central Spokane’s 3rd District.

As ballots were being cast and counted this week for the 2009 election, Billig filed papers with the state Public Disclosure Commission to run for the state House of Representatives seat currently held by seven-term incumbent Alex Wood. Both are Democrats.

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Billig said he’s concerned about the state’s budget problems, and believes the Legislature needs more members with a business background to tackle its financial problems.

“But the Number 1 issue is education,” Billig said, adding the state needs to do more to reduce the number of students who quit before finishing high school. “The dropout rate is part of the cycle of poverty, and improving that is going to help ease poverty.”

Billig, 41, came to Spokane 17 years ago as the general manager of the Indians, a Single A professional baseball team. He’s now president and part-owner. He also serves on the City Human Services Advisory Board, is single and has a 9-year-old daughter.

He plans a formal campaign announcement on Nov. 12.

Wood, a long-time radio announcer before winning a House seat in 1996, said Thursday he plans to decide by the end of the month whether he’ll seek re-election. He’ll announce it in early December at a meeting of a Democratic club.

Wood said he’s been contacted by Billig and a half dozen other people about a possible campaign, and if he steps down “there would be a lot of interest.” Billig said he honors Wood’s service but he plans to run whether the incumbent seeks re-election or not.

The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.