Doc Hastings retires: What's next?

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- So what's next for the 4th Congressional District? It covers parts of eight counties, stretching from the Tri-Cities to the Canadian border.

Whether you agreed with his politics or not, Congressman Hastings has been a strong voice on Capitol Hill for issues affecting our region. KEPR looked at some of his accomplishments and what some expect to come next.

Doc Hastings' impact on the Tri-Cities is measurable. Much of it focused on Hanford. His support for cleanup was clear, as was his push to preserve the B Reactor as a national park. Doc also secured federal money for access to Juniper Dunes, and he's still pushing to open Rattlesnake Mountain.

The Vice Chair of the Franklin County Republican Party was shocked at the announcement. She says his impact has made a major difference to the Mid-Columbia.

"If you went and looked for them and found the numbers of the money that he has funneled into our area specifically, it would be in the multi-millions of dollars," said Stephanie Swanberg.

The Democrats would strongly disagree.

"Doc Hastings was absolutely inept at bringing money into this district. He was horrible at it," said the Chair of the Benton County Democratic Party, Jay Clough.

They'd also disagree on just how powerful the congressman was after ten terms.

"I would say that he wasn't all that influential, even within his own party. He was kind of a backbencher. He was somebody that toed the party line and did what he was told and that's fine. We need a lot of those. There's probably a lot more of those than there are of the shining stars," said Clough.

"The effects of his service to this community have been absolutely endless, and every one of us has been touched by the work that he's done," said Swanberg.

So who will replace Doc Hastings? Democrats have been waiting for the opportunity.

"We have about two or three different options of people that have stepped forward over the last few months," said Clough.

A potential candidate could be named within weeks. And for the Republicans? No names just yet, either.

"I do think that there are people who would be wonderful in this position," said Swanberg.

And after 20 years, a new face will have the chance to represent the 4th District.