Representative Matt Manweller has represented Washington’s 13th district for six years, and is facing off against democrat Sylvia Hammond this November. However, Manweller says he will resign if he is re-elected next month.
Manweller was fired as a Political Science professor from Central Washington University after accusations of sexual misconduct, which Manweller has continuously denied. Republican party leaders in the state urged for Manweller to resign from his elected office, but he says he will carry out his term.
Manweller says he wants to keep his name on the ballot to give voters a republican to vote for. If he were to resign now, his seat would go to his challenger, Sylvia Hammond. If he were to be re-elected, and then resign, Manweller says by law his seat would have to be filled by another republican.
If that happens, local county republican party leaders will have to pick a replacement from a group of volunteers. Five people have put their name in the hat already, including one who isn’t even an adult yet.
Let’s meet them.
Anson Bartrand says being a conservative person means believing you are responsible for making decisions for yourself. He says he wants to return power to the people and put an end to excessive government. He is also an Eagle Scout and a Hanford High School student. He is currently attending Columbia Basin College and plans to earn his AA upon high school graduation. Bartrand is only 17, but will be 18 by the time the legislature convenes in January. He says he wants to represent younger constituents, especially since so much of the state’s general fund goes towards education.
Ian Elliot is an Army vet and a former state representative for Washington’s 1st district. There, he chaired the joint House/Senate Select Committee on Education Funding, and a special Committee on Transit. He was also president of the Seattle Community for Youth at Risk. He has lived in Ellensburg for 18 years with his wife, Sandy, and is currently the Kittitas County Representative to the Governor’s Energy Facilities Site Evaluation Council. Elliot says lack of affordable housing and slow economic development are consequences of the Growth Management Act, and he wants to reconfigure that legislature. Elliot also says that without a Republican majority in at least one house in Olympia, change is difficult.
Obie O’Brien is rounding out the end of his second terms ad Kittitas County Commissioner for District 3. He is also the former mayor of Ellensburg. In the past, O’Brien has worked for the Department of Commerce the US Forest Service, and is the former President of the Washington State Association of Counties. As a county commissioner, he serves on many boards and committees, and he says this shows that he is qualified and familiar with the duties of the people and the legislature.
Danny Stone is a fourth-generation dryland wheat farmer, a former pastor, and a high school coach. He is the former Chair of the Grant county Republican Party. He was also elected as a Republican Precinct Committee Officer for both Grant and Lincoln counties. Stone says this is his only elected position, but that doesn’t make him less qualified. He calls himself a “citizen statesman”, and says he wants to be a part of solutions for the state. He has been married for 39 years, with five children and five grandchildren. He says his desire is to stand up on behalf of future generations.
Alex Ybarra has lived in Quincy all his life, has a master’s in Business Administration, and has worked for the Grant County Public Utilities Department since 2003. He is the former President of the Quincy School Board, and was elected to the board for the Washington State School Directors Association. Ybarra says if chosen, he wants to focus on water access, agriculture, and government accountability. He says it is important to protect farmland and promote the agriculture industry. He also says the state needs better forest management practices that address wildfires without imposing more regulations on property owners.
The Kittitas County Republican Party says they will select three of these five candidates to take over Matt Manweller’s seat. Manweller will still show up on the November ballot as the republican candidate to represent Washington’s 13th district.