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Saturday, August 8, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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7th District has Republican feel

 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

Residents of northeastern Washington’s 7th Legislative District will have an extra choice in next month’s general election thanks to seven voters.

That’s how narrowly Libertarian candidate Dave Wordinger qualified to be on the ballot for the House seat held by Bob Sump.

Wordinger needed 1 percent of all the votes cast in last month’s primary election, and got 1.023 percent with 262 ballots. Sump, on the other hand, needed only a pulse.

Running unopposed for the Republican nomination, Sump collected nearly twice as many ballots as the other primary candidates put together. Spokane County resident Jack Miller won the Democratic primary with 6,018 votes to Okanogan County resident Michael “Buffalo” Mazzetti’s 2,615.

In the position being vacated by state Rep. Cathy McMorris, Democrats barely managed to nominate a candidate who was actually running.

Okanogan County Democrat Yvette Joseph won the Democratic nomination with just 51.2 percent of her party’s support even though the only other candidate, Stevens County resident Dennis Kelley, had declared he was no longer running.

A Forest Service employee, Kelley discovered too late to get his name off the ballot that federal workers are prohibited from running for partisan office.

Okanogan County Republican Joel Kretz got about twice as many votes as Joseph, Kelley or either of his GOP rivals, Sue Lani Madsen and Mike Hanson.

The mostly rural 7th District includes all of Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln and Ferry counties, and portions of Spokane and Okanogan counties.

Position 1

Jack Miller, Democrat. Miller, 57, and his wife, Ellen, have one son, 25, and live on a small ranch south of Medical Lake in Spokane County. His political experience is limited to being a precinct committee officer.

Miller attended Everett Community College and earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Washington in 1969. Later, he earned an associate degree in air traffic and transportation from Green River Community College in Auburn, Wash., and, in 1988, a master’s degree in computer science from Eastern Washington University. Miller has worked at Whitworth College for 16 years, mostly as director of information systems.

Top priorities for Miller include jobs, health care, education – which are “all tied together” – and individual freedoms. Too many people don’t have jobs, and rising health-care costs are “reaching crisis proportions” even for those who have jobs with medical insurance, he said.

Similarly, he said, state budget cuts are forcing public universities to cut enrollment just when extra-large high school populations are ready for college.

Miller sees gun and property rights as fundamental, with little room for compromise. On other issues, though, he would strive “to find workable solutions across political ideologies rather than just fighting among ourselves all the time.”

Bob Sump, Republican. Sump, 63, is seeking a third four-year term. He and his wife Brenda, live near Republic in Ferry County, and have three adult children.

Sump graduated from high school in Houston, Texas, and has lived in Washington since the mid-1960s. He operated service stations and auto repair shops in the Olympia area, but mostly has been a heavy-equipment mechanic in the mining industry. Sump worked 13 years for Washington Irrigation and Development Co.’s coal mine in Centralia and retired in 1999 after 11 years with what is now Kinross Gold in Ferry County.

He wants to reduce regulations on businesses, which he believes are driving up prices. Regulation of the insurance industry has stifled competition and driven up rates to the point that premium increases wipe out employees’ raises and many businesses can’t afford to offer medical benefits, Sump said. He thinks tort reform is needed to keep medical malpractice lawsuits from driving doctors out of the state. Sump also wants to rein in bureaucrats and judges he believes are substituting their own views for state laws.

Dave Wordinger, Independent. Wordinger, 53, and his wife, Huynh, live on Spokane County’s West Plains, near Fairchild Air Force Base, and have an adult daughter. He has no political experience.

Graduated from high school in New Carlisle, Ind., Wordinger earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind. He also earned a master’s degree in systems management from the University of Southern California.

Wordinger joined the Air Force in 1973, served as an electronic warfare officer and retired in 1993 as a major. Since leaving the Air Force, Wordinger has worked for Centennial Mills in Cheney, and as an engineer for Columbia Lighting. For the past five years, he has been an electrical engineer for L&S Engineering in downtown Spokane.

Wordinger wants to improve the economy by removing government restrictions on the insurance industry and other businesses and by reducing business taxes. He favors a tax break or credit for parents who send their children to private schools. Wordinger wants people to make more of their own choices and accept more personal responsibility. He wants to rescind the Growth Management Act and laws that “try to legislate morality.”

Position 2

Yvette Joseph, Democrat. Joseph, 57, lives at Nespelem, Wash. She is divorced, with a daughter, 11, and a son, 10. Although in her first bid for elected office, Joseph has served on national health task forces and is a past treasurer of the Arapahoe County, Colo., Democratic Party.

A graduate of Lake Roosevelt High School in Coulee Dam, Wash., Joseph earned a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University in 1980. A master’s in social work from University of Denver followed in 1987.

Joseph directed the Colville Confederated Tribes’ alcoholism program for five years after graduating from WSU, and became a legislative aide to U.S. Sen. Dan Evans, R-Wash., after earning her master’s degree. She transferred to U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, for six years after Evans retired in 1988.

Next, Joseph was executive director of the nonprofit National Indian Health Board from mid-1995 through 2002. Since then, she has handled several projects for Colville tribal government as a private consultant.

Jobs, rural development and health care are high priorities for Joseph. She thinks one possibility for creating jobs in the 7th District is to press Congress for more Canadian border security. She would promote “specialized vendor contracts” to cut prescription drug costs.

Joel Kretz, Republican. Kretz, 47, and his wife, Sara, have a 15-year-old son. They moved to a ranch near Wauconda in 1990, and previously lived in Skagit County, near Sedro-Woolley, Wash. A precinct committee officer who has been active in natural resource issues, Kretz is Cathy McMorris’ choice for her successor.

Kretz graduated from Mercer Island High School, and attended Green River Community College in Auburn and Olympic Community College in Bremerton. He has been self-employed since 1981, operating his own logging company. Kretz now raises horses, cattle and timber, and still does a little logging.

He serves on the Okanogan County Water Resource Inventory Analysis Committee and the Okanogan County Wildlife Services Committee, which monitors cougar issues for public safety. Kretz also is past president of the Okanogan County Farm Bureau, and has served on Washington Farm Bureau committees.

He wants to eliminate “an adversarial relationship with business” and “too many layers of regulation stifling business.” Kretz also wants to improve funding for core government services, including hospitals, schools and roads. He says he would press state and federal officials to pay for programs they require of local governments. Kretz also wants to rein in bureaucrats who, he says, often ignore the Legislature’s instructions when making rules.

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