City: Colville, WA
Occupation: Farmer, Business consultant
Works as a private business development consultant and he also owns and manages the Colville Farmers Market. He and his family live on a small, working farm raising timber, cattle, chickens and produce. Appointed to the State Senate seat in January following the retirement of Bob Morton, but must win election to serve the full remainder of the term.
- Web: electjohnssmith.com
Progressives appear poised to regain control of the Spokane City Council.
The battle between an appointed incumbent and a county commissioner for the state Senate seat in Northeast Washington has turned increasingly negative, generating charges of tax-dodging, union-coddling, trash-talking and even a possible death threat. The usual issues have come up, like helping the economy, finding jobs for the next generation, protecting gun rights and reining in government. But there are unusual things, too, like a tanker full of human waste with a political message on the back, specifically adapted for this year’s special election race in the 7th District.
Washington voters – or at least the relative few that cast ballots in the summer primary – seemed willing to stick with the familiar Tuesday. Turnout was light in most areas, but incumbents seeking to extend their terms in office survived primaries for the Spokane City Council, Spokane Valley City Council and the 7th District state Senate race.
State Sen. John Smith lives in a remote part of the largest legislative district in Washington, an area with sparse population and wide open spaces that over the decades has attracted people with extreme political and religious views. Smith acknowledges that both his grandfather and his wife’s grandfather were among those with extremist, anti-Semitic views, and that both ended up living in northeast Washington. Both were adherents of a radical strain of Christianity known as Christian Identity, an offshoot of a belief known as British Israelism.
Most years, it’s considered an advantage to hold the office you are seeking in the upcoming election. Brian Dansel and Mike Brunson, who are challenging appointed Sen. John Smith for the seat in northeast Washington’s sprawling 7th District, are hoping 2013 isn’t like most years. Being in the state Senate is not exactly a badge of honor after a prolonged session that needed nearly 50 extra days to accomplish the Legislature’s primary goal of passing the operating budget.
OLYMPIA – New rules for dealing with wolf attacks on livestock and domestic animals, which seemed stalled in the Legislature, may be announced as early as today as a result of action by key legislators and a state commission. On Thursday, the House gave final approval to a bill that adds $10 to the cost of certain specialty license plates to provide money for nonlethal methods to control the growing gray wolf populations in Eastern Washington. After being pulled out of committee by a special parliamentary maneuver, it passed unanimously.
OLYMPIA – The key witness at a hearing Wednesday on whether Eastern Washington needs new laws on wolves didn’t say a word. Shelby, a 6-year-old Siberian Husky mix, sat or lay quietly while county commissioners, cattlemen and wildlife officials warned about the growing danger posed by wolves in Eastern Washington. Then she followed her owner John Stevie to the witness table, where he explained how the 60-pound dog knows about wolves firsthand.