Republicans seek upsets in two 23rd District races

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Two Republican businesswomen are seeking to unseat Democratic incumbents from the 23rd District in the House of Representatives.

To do that, however, would require reversing a long streak of Democratic success in the district, where results have been reliably blue in recent years. It’s been years since a Republican last held one of their seats: Not since former state Rep. Beverly Woods, who was defeated by Sen. Christine Rolfes in 2006, left office. One of the three seats was not held by a Democrat. .

The seat Rolfes won in the House of Representatives that year is now held by Bainbridge Island lawmaker Drew Hansen, who was appointed to the position in 2011 and has since won five elections to retain the seat. Hansen is seeking another term in the House, and fellow Democrat in the district’s other representative seat, Tarra Simmons of Tracyton, is also, after a long run for former state Rep. Sherry Appleton’s seat, also a Democrat. .

Republicans Paige Jarquin of Central Kitsap and Janell Hulst of Kingston will face Hansen and Simmons, respectively, in the polls this fall.

In previews for their November 8 general election contests, Hansen and Simmons beat their opponents by significant margins in the August primary. Hansen won around 66% of the vote to Jarquin’s 34%, while Simmons won around 64% of the votes cast in a three-way primary that saw Hulst win around 31%.

23rd district, post 1

Tarra Simmons

Simmons – the founding director of the Civil Survival Project, an advocacy group for formerly incarcerated people – highlighted a number of accomplishments she was proud of during her tenure, including a bill expanding eligibility for free healthcare and reduced-cost, a measure that created a statewide ombudsman’s office for behavioral health care and the expansion of a housing voucher program for those released from prisons in State.

Priority issues in a new term include access to health care, housing affordability and transportation, she said.

“I was really effective in first grade,” she said. “I think my seat neighbors would probably say I was particularly effective as a freshman because most freshmen come in and they’re given the task of renaming a road in their freshman year or something. like that. I was able to get off to a flying start with my previous experience, but I’m really excited because I think I can be even more effective when I’m there (at Olympia in person).

Simmons, a criminal justice reform advocate, said she supports the police reforms lawmakers passed in 2021 and continues to support the majority of those efforts, though she acknowledged some “unintended consequences related to restrictions on police car chases.

“We need law enforcement,” she said. “We are going to continue to need law enforcement and support them and also build trust with the community. I’m very proud of the work we’ve been able to accomplish, and I also think there’s room for future adjustments in the police reform space.

Janell Hulst

Hulst, who does drafting and design work for small family business Hulst Homes Design & Construction, pointed to a number of areas of concern that drew her into the race, including crime, affordability in State, Education, and the State’s Comprehensive Sex Education Curriculum. . In campaign materials, she denounces what she sees as a lack of accountability for government programs and officials.

“I’m not a politician,” she said of her speech to voters, “but I’m a small business owner and a mom and someone who lives in Washington state who mobilizes to bring foresight, creativity, innovation and community back to our legislation to do what is best for people now and for our future.

In campaign materials, Hulst criticizes police reforms approved by lawmakers in 2020 and describes the “crippling” of “already underfunded police departments.” She promises to “fully fund” law enforcement agencies and “restore their ability to prosecute and detain those suspected of crime, and to ensure that criminals are held accountable, rather than to be released for repeating the same offences”.

“If we don’t hold people accountable, why change? ” she says. “Why stop stealing cars if you know the police can’t arrest you right now for example?” Especially when it comes to those who are stuck in addiction, it doesn’t help them just by allowing them to be there. If they’re out in the open and doing drugs, it’s a cry for help.

23rd arrondissement, post 2

Drew Hansen

Seeking another term, Hansen, a lawyer with the firm of Susman Godfrey, touts his work on education, which includes a tuition-free college and apprenticeship program, and points to an effort designed to enable the deployment of public broadband access. In a new term, he planned to prioritize expanded educational efforts, broader broadband access and the protection of reproductive health care rights in the state, he said.

“I believe it’s important to help people find decent jobs, so they can support their families, whether that’s through college, an apprenticeship or something else.” , did he declare. “I have been a leader in the State Legislature opening up opportunities for new college degrees in Kitsap County, such as engineering at Olympic College. And if I am re-elected, I plan to fight very hard to ensure that the people of Kitsap County have access to the same educational and job-training opportunities that people in Seattle and the rest of the state already have.

Hansen said earlier this year after the Supreme Court’s draft ‘Dobbs’ ruling leaked, he began researching ways to protect abortion rights in the state and protect potentially health-care professionals. to perform abortions.

“It’s an extremely delicate and complex area,” he said, “but it’s very important to me not only that we maintain access to abortion in Washington State, but that we ensure that doctors, nurses and others in Washington State are not going to be criminally prosecuted for performing abortions on patients who might come here from out of state.

paige jarquin

Jarquin, who is one of the minds behind a local home inspection franchise Pillar to Post run by his family, describes himself as “very fiscally conservative and more socially moderate.”

She points to concerns about rising crime, which she links to police reforms enacted by state lawmakers, concerns about the state’s comprehensive sex-ed curriculum, and the affordability of life in the state. After an unsuccessful run for a seat on the Central Kitsap School District Board of Trustees last year, Jarquin said she joined some of Kitsap’s conservative groups and “just started to learn a lot about this beautiful state. which is just not going well.”

“I’m a foreigner, I’m not a politician,” she said. “What I am is a leader. What I am is a thoughtful businesswoman who has a lot of experience managing budgets, managing people, managing teams. I I’m a political outsider, and I hope being a political outsider makes people see me as someone who can approach this with a new face, with a broader perspective.

“Crime is off the hook,” Jarquin said, linking the issue to the police reform package.

“I think they meant well when they passed the legislation,” she said. “I think they focused on creating equity for underrepresented members of our community. I believe that. I think the unintended consequences of their legislation hurt underrepresented communities the most.

Nathan Pilling is a reporter covering Bainbridge Island, North Kitsap and Washington State Ferries for the Kitsap Sun. He can be reached at 360-792-5242, [email protected] or on Twitter at @KSNatePilling.

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