RITZVILLE – A political activist has been charged with assault and other crimes for an attack on state Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, in the town of Ritzville, the city prosecutor’s office said Thursday.
Glen Stockwell, 71, of Ritzville, was released from the Adams County Jail after posting a $2,500 bond and was banned from having any contact with the long-time legislator, City Prosecutor Mark Monson said.
Stockwell allegedly used his pickup truck to block a semi-truck driven by Schoesler in Ritzville shortly after 8 a.m. Monday, Monson said.
After demanding that Schoesler exit the semi, authorities say Stockwell opened the door of the truck and tried to grab Schoesler by the jacket. He also attempted to punch the senator, who was buckled into the seat, grazing his cheek, Monson said.
Schoesler, 64, was not injured, Monson said.
“It was fairly traumatic,” Monson said.
Ritzville police interviewed the senator and then arrested Stockwell, Monson said.
Stockwell has been charged with misdemeanor assault, harassment and disorderly conduct, charges that carry a sentence of up to a year in jail, Monson said. His next court date was set for Nov. 2.
There was no answer at the office of Stockwell’s lawyer, Chris Bajalcaliev in Spokane.
Schoesler spokesman Brian Zylstra said the senator did not want to comment because it is an on-going criminal case.
The Cheney Free Press reported this week that the altercation involved the Columbia Basin Reclamation Project, a giant federal irrigation project in central Washington state. It was launched in 1943, following construction of Grand Coulee Dam, to bring irrigation water to farms in the area. Efforts to complete the project have been stalled for decades by high costs.
Stockwell, who has used completion of the project as his platform for several unsuccessful runs for public office, has said he believes the project should be revived and completed, the newspaper said.
Schoesler, a wheat farmer, represents the 9th Legislative District, which spans part or all of Adams, Asotin, Franklin, Garfield, Spokane and Whitman counties. Schoesler was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 1992 and served for 12 years. He was elected to the state Senate in 2004 and served eight years as the Senate Republican Leader.
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