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Sunday, September 22, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Schools, Health Care Topics In 6th District Campaign Lifelong Educator, Nurse’s Aide Meet In Democratic Primary

He’s a lifelong educator. She’s a nursing aide with an insurance background.

Both want the Democratic nomination for the 6th District Position 2 House seat. Neither has held political office before.

Jerry Hopkins, 58, grew up on a farm in Eastern Washington. He taught economics, world affairs and social studies at North Central High School for 27 years. He served as the president of the Spokane Education Association for four years.

Barbara Lampert, 50, has lived longer in Washington than any other state. She’s running a shoestring campaign and relying on word of mouth to spread her message. Lampert, a gay rights advocate, is planning to spend less than $2,000 on the race.

“I’m not fund-raising at all,” she said. “I’m not using yard signs, partly for the money thing and partly because the day after the election, they become litter.”

Lampert and Hopkins are both hoping to oust incumbent Rep. Duane Sommers, a Republican. Sommers was picked to finish the last year of Rep. Todd Mielke’s term.

Lampert’s a nursing aide who used to handle insurance claims for companies such as Medical Service Corp. She advocates enforcing the law, reducing class sizes in public schools, balancing people with nature, providing comprehensive health care and eliminating unnecessary laws.

Although she helped lead the unsuccessful drive to recall Coroner Dexter Amend, Lampert believes that the coroner system is better for Spokane than a proposed medical examiner system. She also wants to foster racial harmony and supports same-sex marriages, mass transit and a more efficient way to recall public officials.

Unlike Lampert, Hopkins has jumped into the fund-raising fray. He’s collected $7,942 in contributions so far. Many educators have chipped in, including Gary Livingston, superintendent of Spokane School District 81.

Hopkins said he’s worried by threatened government cuts in school lunch programs, Head Start and other assistance to students. He wants more programs for youth, especially after-school activities.

“There seems to be an idea that we can go back to some time that was better, rather than trying to focus on moving into the future and providing for prevention programs,” he said.

Hopkins, who has two adult sons, is also concerned about a lack of jobs and inadequate health care. He’s cared for his mother, who suffers from Alzheimer’s and has moved from her home to private adult care to a nursing home.

“We need to find some new care solutions for the elderly,” he said. “There are other countries that have done that, that have found some ways to bring care into the home or even put it in the back yard.”

, DataTimes MEMO: For individual profiles, see by name of candidate

This sidebar appeared with the story: SOMMERS SAYS HE HAS SOME UNFINISHED BUSINESS FROM STATE LEGISLATURE Duane Sommers wants to finish what he started - even if he only had less than a year in Olympia. The Republican was tapped to finish out the last year of Rep. Todd Mielke’s 6th District House term. Unopposed in the primary, Sommers wants to be elected in November to continue his work on public-safety reform, targeting juvenile offenders. He also wants to reform property taxes, welfare and government. “I’m running because from last session, there’s some unfinished work,” said Sommers, 63. “We need to reform government. It’s too large and too intrusive.” He’s no stranger to government, having worked 25 years in health care agencies in Olympia and Spokane. Sommers also served in the state House of Representatives from 1987 to 1992, when he decided to step down after redistricting. He lost a 1992 congressional race to former House Speaker Tom Foley and was picked to chair the county Republican Party in 1994. Sommers’ campaign contributions dwarf those being collected by his Democratic opponents. He raised $18,993 as of Wednesday, including $1,000 from Metropolitan Mortgage and Securities Co. More than half of Sommers’ donations have come from PACs, businesses and associations. - Kim Barker Staff writer

For individual profiles, see by name of candidate

This sidebar appeared with the story: SOMMERS SAYS HE HAS SOME UNFINISHED BUSINESS FROM STATE LEGISLATURE Duane Sommers wants to finish what he started - even if he only had less than a year in Olympia. The Republican was tapped to finish out the last year of Rep. Todd Mielke’s 6th District House term. Unopposed in the primary, Sommers wants to be elected in November to continue his work on public-safety reform, targeting juvenile offenders. He also wants to reform property taxes, welfare and government. “I’m running because from last session, there’s some unfinished work,” said Sommers, 63. “We need to reform government. It’s too large and too intrusive.” He’s no stranger to government, having worked 25 years in health care agencies in Olympia and Spokane. Sommers also served in the state House of Representatives from 1987 to 1992, when he decided to step down after redistricting. He lost a 1992 congressional race to former House Speaker Tom Foley and was picked to chair the county Republican Party in 1994. Sommers’ campaign contributions dwarf those being collected by his Democratic opponents. He raised $18,993 as of Wednesday, including $1,000 from Metropolitan Mortgage and Securities Co. More than half of Sommers’ donations have come from PACs, businesses and associations. - Kim Barker Staff writer

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