A Republican who opposes tolls and light rail on the proposed new Interstate 5 bridge over the Columbia River will challenge Rep. Tim Probst, D-Vancouver, in this year’s election.
Mike Appel, 51, said he is running for state representative because he wants to see a shift of leadership in Olympia. “We’re having freedoms taken away from us,” he said. “There’s greater and greater regulation and higher taxes.”
Appel ran unsuccessfully for Clark County treasurer in 2010. He was defeated by Doug Lasher, who is serving his eighth four-year term.
If elected to the state Legislature, Appel said, he would work to roll back the regulations he believes are unnecessary and harmful to businesses.
He also said that instead of replacing the I-5 bridge over the Columbia River, the existing bridge should be retrofitted to last another 50 years. One or two more bridges should be built across the river, too, he said.
“You look at Portland,” Appel said. “How many bridges do they have across their city to take care of the needs of the city? And we’re talking about an interstate corridor here.”
He said light rail between Portland and Vancouver would allow gang members to easily commute to Washington, and that he believes most people do not want light rail on the Columbia River Crossing.
Appel works as a purchasing agent at Service Partner Supply, an insulation and exterior finishes distributor. There, he finds products to meet the needs of customers and negotiates on their prices with vendors. Prior to that, he worked as a manager for Montgomery Ward.
Appel criticized Probst for voting in favor of legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry, and said Washington voters should get the final say on the matter.
“The Democratic Party has had almost complete control over our state for almost 30 years,” Appel said. “I feel that the Democratic Party has been trying to socially engineer the people of Washington for far too long, culminating in the gay marriage legislation that just passed.”
Democrats have often had control of the Legislature during the past 30 years, although Republicans held a majority in the Senate 1988 through 1992, in 1997, 2003 and 2004, according to state Legislature records. Republicans held a majority in the House in 1995 through 1998, and they were tied with Democrats 49-49 from 1999 to 2001. A Republican governor has not served the state since 1985.
Appel lives in Vancouver with his wife, Lynda Appel, a school bus driver with Evergreen Public Schools. The couple have two adult children.
Mike Appel has a bachelor’s degree in history from California State University at Chico.
House members earn $42,106.08 plus $90 a day when on state business.