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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Indians official files to run for state House

Billig says education is state’s top priority

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

Andy Billig, the president of the Spokane Indians Baseball Club, wants to play in a different league. He’s running for the state Legislature in central Spokane’s 3rd District.

As ballots were being cast and counted this week for the 2009 election, Billig filed papers with the state Public Disclosure Commission to run in 2010 for the state House of Representatives seat held by seven-term incumbent Alex Wood. Both are Democrats.

Billig said he’s concerned about the state’s budget problems and believes the Legislature needs more members with a business background to tackle its financial problems.

“But the No. 1 issue is education,” Billig said, adding the state needs to do more to reduce the number of students who quit before finishing high school. “The dropout rate is part of the cycle of poverty, and improving that is going to help ease poverty.”

Billig, 41, came to Spokane 17 years ago as the general manager of the Indians, a Single-A professional team. He’s now president and part owner. He also serves on the City Human Services Advisory Board. Billig is single and has a 9-year-old daughter.

He plans a formal campaign announcement Thursday. Wood, a longtime radio announcer before he won a House seat in 1996, said Thursday he’ll decide by the end of the month whether he’ll seek re-election. He’ll announce his plans in early December at a meeting of a Democratic club.

Wood said he’s been contacted by Billig and several others about running possible campaigns, and if he steps down “there would be a lot of interest” in the seat.

Billig said he honors Wood’s service but he plans to run regardless of whether the incumbent seeks re-election.

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