Vancouver businesswoman Maureen Winningham has announced that she'll run for the legislative seat now held by state Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas.
Winningham, a Democrat, said she was motivated to run by seeing dysfunction in Olympia, and having many people reach out and encourage her to jump in. She'll seek the second House position in the 18th Legislative District.
"I really believe that we can make things better, and I believe I have the tools and the dialogue to be able to do that," Winningham said.
Winningham works as head of global research and development and information technology for Intel Security. She also mentors young women entering science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, professions, and trains people in conflict resolution.
Winningham identified education as one of her top priorities. She said lawmakers need to follow the recent state Supreme Court directive to provide more funding for education. And the work of teachers needs to be valued, Winningham said.
"I really feel like our public school teachers need an advocate in Olympia in the 18th District," said Winningham, 47. "My opponent just doesn't get it."
Pike incensed many educators last year with a Facebook post suggesting that teachers should find a different occupation if they're unhappy with their pay. She also said the U.S. public education system has deteriorated "since the rise of teachers unions in this nation."
Pike later acknowledged a poor choice of words and tone. She said she had more to learn and welcomed open dialogue with Clark County educators.
Said Winningham: "Our public teachers deserve our respect and our support."
Winningham also pointed to infrastructure and the economy as key issues. She didn't take a stance on the broad transportation package some legislators have pushed for since last year, saying she'd need to learn more about the proposal and hear what voters in the 18th District think.
On the Columbia River Crossing project, Winningham has described the existing Interstate 5 Bridge as "unsafe." She said this about proposals to replace it:
"Some solid conflict-resolution skills would be very advantageous," she said. "I know that there's always a way to work things out in a reasonable way."
Winningham lives in the East Fisher's Landing area with her husband and young daughter.
Pike has served in the House since 2012. She plans to run for re-election this year.
"I look forward to a spirited contest focused on the issues," Pike said.