City: Nine Mile Falls, WA
Education: Graduated from Havelock High School in North Carolina in 1969. Graduated from North Carolina State University in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in accounting.
Political experience: Has never held office. Volunteered for Washington's Initiative 735 limiting special interest spending on political candidates.
Work experience: U.S. Navy veteran, volunteer in the Naval Reserve, 1976 to 1979. Accountant at Haskins and Sells from 1979 to 1981. Worked in rural outreach for Billings Deaconess Hospitals, 1981 to 1983. Health care manager at LeMaster & Daniels accounting, 1983 to 1990. Health care manager at Pannel Kerr Forester accounting firm 1990 to 1991. Started a public accountant and consultant firm, Michael R Bell & Co., specializing in the health care industry, 1991 to 2010. Co-founder of Rural Health Clinic Association of Washington.
Family: Married. Has three adult children, three adult stepchildren and seven grandchildren.
Whatever blue wave was seen in other parts of the state, it doesn’t look ready to wipe out long-time Republican state Rep. Joel Kretz, who easily topped three challengers in the primary in the race for a 7th Legislative District house seat. Kretz racked up 63 percent of the vote, while the next two closest candidates, Democrats Mike Bell and Crystal Oliver, drew 16.9 and 15.6 percent of the vote respectively, making the second-place finisher too close to call Tuesday night.
Two Democrats and one Independent are challenging 7th District Rep. Joel Kretz for his seat in the state House of Representatives. The Republican incumbent has gone largely unchallenged for more than a decade.
First-time candidates file for Spokane-area legislative seats.