An educator involved in workforce development and a mother of two from Pe Ell has announced her bid for the state House of Representatives in the 19th District for the seat currently held by Jim Walsh, R-Aberdeen.
Democrat Erin Frasier announced her intent to run on Monday. This is the first time she has pursued public office.
“I am running because to help hard working families in Southwest Washington we must invest in the people and communities that make this region special,” Frasier said in a press release. “My core values reflect the priorities of our communities — education, innovation, individual choice and focusing on how we help people succeed as a foundation for a strong community.”
Frasier has worked for nearly 10 years at Grays Harbor College and has worked with the State Board for Washington Community and Technical Colleges for the past two years.
According to a press release, she decided to run because of what she sees as failures in both Olympia and Washington, D.C., when it comes to smart investments in workers and communities, stating that big corporations and the wealthy receive a larger share of tax cuts and growth than they need and that she believes that money should benefit all Americans.
“We must do better to help workers, small business and rural communities succeed — a priority too often ignored by partisan politicians eager to reward wealthy donors at the expense of working people,” Frasier said. “Leveling the playing field means we view education and workforce development as investments, not costs, and we view people as our greatest assets. If we raise up people we positively impact communities and the economy.”
Frasier will attempt to unseat Walsh, who was elected to the 19th District in the November 2016 election. During the primary election, Walsh and Democrat Teresa Purcell rose to the top of the five candidates vying for the seat. Walsh beat Purcell by 559 votes, becoming the first Republican to hold the seat in decades.
Walsh, who told The Chronicle he will be running again in 2018, said he is a conservative voice for rural Washington. His priorities center around property rights, education and jobs. He also has been vocal in his opposition to what he sees as overreaches by various state agencies.
“State agency bureaucrats have been choking economic development in our area by the abuse of permitting processes, and I’ve been battling that as long as I’ve been in office and even before,” Walsh said. “Education is great, but what we need are the jobs to pay family wages to provide the economic activity for this area.”
He has opposed the state Department of Ecology’s “unlawful interpretation” of the SEPA process, “erroneous and overreaching administration actions” on behalf of the state Department of Natural Resources, and some of the actions of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, which he says is “out of control.”
“There’s one person who has been a strong voice against the Department of Ecology, the Department of Fish and Wildlife and DNR’s overreach, and that’s me,” he said.
Frasier, who is endorsed by state Sen. Dean Takko and Rep. Brian Blake — both Democrats in the 19th District — has other endorsements from county and city elected officials and school board members, among others.
Walsh stated he is not concerned about the endorsements because the majority come from “partisan left people,” he said.
He stated speaker of the house Frank Chopp, a “liberal Seattle power broker,” has also endorsed Frasier, although he did not appear on a list of early endorsements provided by Frasier.
Walsh expects other Democrats to join the race for his seat.
Frasier was raised on a family dairy turned cattle ranch outside of Pe Ell and graduated valedictorian from the high school, according to the press release.
Her husband is an elementary school teacher and their two daughters have returned to the farm after living in Pacific County. According to the release, her great-grandparents settled in the area from Switzerland, and her parents still reside on the farm.
“My girls are the fifth generation of our family to learn the important values of hard work and respect for the land,” Frasier said. “We have a unique and special quality of life in this part of Washington rooted in our landscapes — the farms and forests, shorelines and main streets — that we must protect for ourselves and future generations.”
Frasier said that if she is elected, she’ll be a leader “who applies real experience and proven commitment to make sure we build the economy we deserve without sacrificing the way of life we love. By working for common sense policies that help real people, we can invest in our schools, our communities and our future.”
Aside from her career in workforce training and development, Frasier is a community volunteer who serves on numerous boards and commissions, including the state’s Interagency Council on Homeless. She has also served for several years with the Dispute Resolution Center of Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties and the Pacific County Economic Development Council, is active in the Lewis-Pacific Swiss Society and helped launch the Pacific County Teen Advocacy Coalition, according to the release.