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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Parker won’t seek re-election

OLYMPIA -- Rep. Kevin Parker, R-Spokane, makes a point during debate on the 2015 supplemental budget on March 29. (Jim Camden/The Spokesman-Review)
OLYMPIA -- Rep. Kevin Parker, R-Spokane, makes a point during debate on the 2015 supplemental budget on March 29. (Jim Camden/The Spokesman-Review)

Rep. Kevin Parker, a Spokane Republican who rose to his party's number two spot on the powerful Appropriations Committee, will not seek re-election this fall.

Parker, a four-term member of the House from Spokane's 6th District, said he was stepping away from the Legislature to spend more time with his wife and three young children. 

"Things are great with the family, but I've been doing this for eight years," he said, adding they had encouraged him to run again but he decided it was time to concentrate on activities in Spokane.

The Parkers own seven Dutch Bros. Coffee outlets in Spokane, and he is an adjunct instructor for masters of business administration programs at both Whitworth and Gonzaga universities, teaching courses in economics, entrepreneurship or leadership at different times.

First elected in 2008 by defeating Democrat Don Barlow, Parker has faced relatively easy re-election campaigns in succeeding elections. He was mentioned last year as a possible candidate for Spokane City Council president against incumbent Ben Stuckart, but declined to get into the race. 

Candidates for the 2016 elections will formally file for office later this month. Lynnette Vehrs, director of professional development at the Washington State University-Spokane College of Nursing, has filed with the Public Disclosure Commission to run as a Democrat for that 6th District House seat.

He wouldn't rule out a race for elective office at some point, but said he has no current political plans: "It's not on my radar screen at any level."

In Olympia, he rose the position of assistant ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee, a spot that put him in the middle of budget discussions in recent years.

"I will miss working on the budget," Parker said Tuesday, because those discussions involved all the issues confronting the state. 

Over those eight years, he said he learned that from members of both parties in both chambers to state employees throughout the system, "everyone has good intentions and everyone cares about the state". His biggest disappointment, he added, discovering that a few people are so rigidly partisan that they won't budge on issues, no matter what.

"Both sides have them," he said.

Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981 and retired in 2021. He is currently the political and state government correspondent covering Washington state.

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