The election of two new members to Washington's legislature could mean big things for small business.
Washington will hold a special election this November to replace two former representatives of the state legislature—and the election’s results could shape the state’s future of small business.
November’s election is set to determine who will fill the spots of District 9’s Susan Fagan, who resigned from her position on May 1, and District 30’s Roger Freeman, who died last year while in office.
NFIB has endorsed Mary Dye for the District 9 seat and Teri Hickel to fill Freeman’s role in District 30. August’s primary poll showed both candidates are currently in the lead for their respective races. State rules dictate that the two candidates who receive the highest vote totals in the primary continue onto the general election in November, regardless of party.
So come November, Dye will face off against Richard Lathim, who came in second place in the August primary polls. Dye’s lead was significant, as she garnered 48 percent of the votes to Lathim’s 25.9 percent.
NFIB State Director Patrick Connor says that’s good news for small business. Connor explains that Dye has previously joined forces with NFIB in opposing a gas tax increase, and “stood with small business in supporting a no-new-taxes operating budget that made record investments in education while protecting taxpayers’ wallets.”
Over in District 30, Hickel’s race was a little closer, but the polls still put her ahead with 52 percent of the votes, compared to her opponent Carol Gregory’s 48 percent.
“Hickel understands the needs and challenges facing small business,” Connor says. “We are confident she will be a strong advocate for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the state legislature.”
Along with increasing the number of small business advocates, Connor points out that the addition of these representatives would lower the amount of Democrats in the legislature to the bare minimum number of votes needed to pass a bill by a constitutional majority. This would bring the state legislature one step closer to the demise of Speaker Frank Chopp, who currently holds the record as the longest-serving House speaker in Washington’s history, and to the end of Democratic domination of the state house, Connor says.
“Washington’s small businesses are under siege from overzealous regulators in Olympia,” Connor says. “We need strong, articulate, intelligent, thoughtful lawmakers—with experience running a business and putting people to work—making the decisions at the state capitol. Rep. Mary Dye and Teri Hickel are unquestionably the best candidates for small business.”