Probst running for state Senate

Vancouver Democrat announces that he will challenge Benton

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State Rep. Tim Probst, D-Vancouver, has announced he will run for the 17th District state Senate seat currently held by Don Benton, R-Vancouver.

In a statement released today, Probst said he has “consistently pursued a centrist agenda of low taxes and low debt, coupled with economic growth” since he began serving in the Washington state House of Representatives.

“I promised the voters I would be an independent centrist, not raise their taxes and fix this economy through job skills, education and a good old-fashioned work ethic -- not through debt, spending, and speculation,” the statement said. “I’ve stood by that promise, and I want to do more, faster, to re-establish America as the strongest economy in the world, bar none. That’s why I’m asking the voters to send me to the Senate.”

Benton, elected to the Washington state Senate in 1996 after serving two years in the House, has said that he will seek re-election.

Students, workers

Probst’s statement highlighted his work to build a public-private partnership to extend scholarships to students who can’t afford college and yet whose parents make too much to qualify for traditional financial aid; to reduce red tape for small businesses; to provide worker training and create business internships at high growth companies.

He also said he worked with local business leaders to win the engineering building for WSU Vancouver and led an effort to protect levy equalization funding for local schools.

He described himself as “an outspoken promoter of respectful dialogue and positive campaigning.”

“I try to stay out of the partisan bickering and the Olympia gossip mills and just do my job,” said Probst. “In the Senate, I’ll be able to achieve more for my constituents to promote fiscal responsibility and common-sense economic strength.”

The statement said Probst will announce an economic reform platform for the State Senate in two weeks.

Probst began serving in the House in 2008. Before that, he worked as CEO of the Washington Workforce Association, a group created to represent the state’s many workforce development councils.

If Probst remained in the race to keep his House seat, he faced competition from Republicans Mike Appel and Julie Olson, who have both announced their bid to run against him.

Olson is chairwoman of the Ridgefield School Board and Appel works as a purchasing agent at Service Partner Supply, an insulation and exterior finishes distributor.