Kraft files to fill Wilson’s 17th District position


Posted: Wednesday, February 10, 2016 11:35 am

Sen. Don Benton’s recent announcement that he will not seek re-election to his 17th District Senate seat in the Washington State Legislature quickly led to a pair of other announcements by Clark County residents.

After nearly 30 years of public service, including 22 years serving the people of the 17th District in the Legislature, Benton announced Feb. 1 that he would not seek re-election later this year. In an Op-ed column provided to The Reflector on Feb. 5, Benton said his decision was a result of Interim County Administrator Mark McCauley’s decision to not allow Benton to claim time working in his role as director of the Clark County Department of Environmental Services while he was in Olympia serving in the legislature.

“With my current term ending on Dec. 31, it is with great sadness that I announce that this will be my last term in the Senate and I’m not seeking re-election,’’ Benton wrote. “Given my love for public service, I make this decision with a heavy heart, but it has become clear to me that my current employer has decided that it is no longer desirable for me to serve in the legislature while doing my job at Clark County.’’

Three days after Benton announced he would not seek re-election, Rep. Lynda Wilson announced her candidacy for the 17th District Senate seat.

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to represent the citizens of the 17th Legislative District in the State House of Representatives,’’ Wilson said. “I believe the most effective way for me to continue this representation is to seek election to the Senate seat of retiring Senator Don Benton. “I commend Senator Benton for his 20 plus years of public service to the residents of Clark County, and wish him all the best.

In her announcement, Wilson said since her election to the House of Representatives, Lynda has fought to restore freedom and opportunity for all Washingtonians, and restore trust in state government.

“My priorities have been to promote policies that help foster job creation, fight higher taxes, eliminate government waste, and support education funding as the state’s number one budget priority,” said Wilson.

During the last legislative session, Lynda strongly opposed the House Democrat leadership’s attempts to increase taxes by $1.5 billion, which included job-killing taxes on small business – and she worked to successfully reduce tuition at Washington State’s universities and community and technical colleges.

Wilson and her family own and operate DeWils Industries, a long established local kitchen cabinet manufacturing business, which provides 130-140 family wage jobs in the community. In addition, Wilson and her family are active supporters of Clark County’s many charitable organizations and cultural events.

“I’m truly excited for the opportunity to run for the State Senate, and represent this great district as its next State Senator in Olympia,” said Wilson.

Vicki Kraft to seek Wilson’s seat

The next domino to fall was an announcement by area resident Vicki Kraft that she would seeks Wilson’s seat as the representative in the 17th Legislative District in the 2016 election.

“I applaud the goals Lynda Wilson set in serving as our State Representative,” said Kraft, who pointed out the 17th District is known for its fiscally conservative citizens. “I will continue to hold government accountable as a strong conservative.’’

Kraft works for the Freedom Foundation. Prior to joining the Freedom Foundation, she worked for Fortune 500 companies including Dell, Pillsbury and Frigidaire as well as small businesses.

During the past 10 years, in her private sector experience, Kraft worked directly with WA K-12 school districts across the state and the State of Washington agencies in Olympia. Through collaborative efforts with district and agency leaders she uncovered opportunities to be addressed, and implemented more efficient solutions benefiting students, teachers and taxpayers.

Kraft previously lived in Washington D.C. and worked with Federal government agencies including George W. Bush’s Faith-Based Initiative Office which awarded grants to nonprofits. Kraft also served as the chairman of the 17th Legislative District, elected to the Clark County Republican Party Executive Board in 2012. She is active as the Vice Chairman of the Cobblestone HOA, as well as with the Greater Vancouver Chamber.

“I’ve actively listened to citizen concerns as the 17th Legislative District chairman, talked with legislators about these issues, and hosted educational forums for our District’s citizens including a Legislative Day in Olympia,” said Kraft. “I look forward to actively seeking a greater role in serving the citizens of the 17th District as their state representative.”

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