Jeff Wilson, a commissioner for the Port of Longview, will run for the state Senate in District 19, making it at least a three-way race between incumbent Dean Takko, a Longview Democrat, and Grays Harbor County Commissioner Wes Cormier, a Republican from Elma. Wilson is also a Republican. The top two candidates in the August primary advance to the general election.
Wilson, 59, lives in Longview and is four years into his six-year port commission post. He said he will vacate the Port seat if he wins.
The 19th District includes parts of Grays Harbor, Cowlitz and Lewis and all of Pacific and Wahkiakum counties, with Cowlitz accounting for the largest number of voters.
Wilson has owned a number of different businesses in the past 30 years, including one that was based in Aberdeen and did industrial maintenance and environmental services. Currently, he and his wife manage their commercial and residential real estate holdings, he said.
The Legislature’s highest priority now and in the next term will be economic recovery from the impacts of COVID-19, he said. “All forms of job creation right now really have to have the word recovery inserted.”
He says the Legislature has overspent the last two years and that will make it more difficult now when the state needs to reduce spending while dealing with the COVID-19 fallout.
“We know that the nation is likely to fall into a recession if people cannot get safely back to work,” Wilson said in a candidate announcement statement. “Who leads District 19 and the state out of this crisis matters, and we need people with business, government, and relationship experience to bring people and solutions together to ensure our state, particularly rural communities, is not left behind.”
Asked what specifically might help Grays Harbor communities economically, he said, “Make sure (government) is not being restrictive. Government should make sure it is not part of the hurdle Grays Harbor needs to clear to survive. The last two years, it seems the mentality of the Legislature was to collect fees and taxes.”