Republican warehouseman joins race for House seat

By Stevie Mathieu, Columbian assistant metro editor

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A senior manager at Vancouver Warehouse and Distribution has announced he will run as a Republican in the 17th District race to replace outgoing state Rep. Tim Probst, D-Vancouver.

Matthew Homola, 38, of Vancouver said he is running for office because he wants to try to fix the political problems he sees rather than just grumble about them.

"We all sit around and we complain, but we don't do anything about it," he said on Friday. This is his first time running for public office.

Homola said he wants to run on a platform of fiscal responsibility. He said the state retirement system needs to be reformed because it creates an unfunded liability for the state.

"It's ballooning as we speak," he said.

He also said he wants to crack down on people who abuse social service programs and make sure that the education system is run in a way that is more economically efficient. Another one of his priorities is to promote job growth, he said.

In the county, it seems like more students are graduating than there are jobs available for them, Homola said. "What are these kids doing? We need to do something with this job market."

He's also troubled by the high foreclosure rate in Clark County and said tolls to pay for a new Interstate 5 Bridge over the Columbia River would raise the prices of goods and services for consumers.

If elected, Homola said, he plans to be accessible to his constituents. He said that's also a key part of his campaign strategy, and that people can find all of his contact information on his website, http://www.matthewhomola.com/.

Probst will not seek re-election to the House seat. Instead, he has filed to run in the 17th District against incumbent Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver. Besides Homola, Republican school board president Julie Olson and Democratic teaching coach Monica Stonier have entered the race to replace Probst.

Homola has worked at Vancouver Warehouse and Distribution for about 12 years. In addition to working as a senior manager there, he also is an accounting application developer for the business, meaning that he writes all of its software.

Homola has also worked as a real estate agent and an electrician. He lives with his wife in Vancouver, and he has lived in Clark County for the past two decades. He said he is not sure what to expect, but he's entering the race with every intention to win.

"If you're not honest and truthful, you're going to lose credibility," Homola said. That philosophy has "done me well so far in my life," he added.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523; http://facebook.com/reportermathieu; http://twitter.com/col_politics; stevie.mathieu@columbian.com.