Vancouver resident Anson Service has announced that he'll seek the legislative seat now held by state Rep. Sharon Wylie, D-Vancouver.
Service, a Republican, will run for state representative in the 49th Legislative District, Position 1. He said he'd like to be an approachable representative who makes the legislative process more open and accessible to everyday citizens.
"It doesn't seem like the whole system is set up for the regular Joe Schmo guy," Service said. "I want to change things along those lines."
That means talking openly and frankly about what bills do, how they affect people and where they stand, Service said, cutting through the "legal speak."
"You can't be excited about something you don't know anything about," he said.
Service said his priorities in Olympia would include transportation, education and health care in Washington. He said he'd like to see the Interstate 5 Bridge "redone" -- but not as the now-defunct Columbia River Crossing, a $2.9 billion proposal currently in the
process of shutting down. He'd like to help boost education funding under a state Supreme Court mandate. And he'd like to improve health care in the state by putting more emphasis on mental health services, which have fallen victim to budget cuts and exacerbated other problems, Service said.
"If you take care of mental health, it's going to take care of a lot of other things," Service said.
Service, a doctor of clinical psychology, is owner of Adventure Learning and Assessment LLC, which provides mental health counseling, assessment and academic services. He also has participated in a variety of community service activities. Service previously served as vice president of the Greater Goldendale Area Chamber of Commerce. He's making his first run at public office.
Wylie, 64, has served in the Washington Legislature since 2011. She has said she'll seek re-election this year.
Service may face an uphill climb running as a Republican in the Democratic-leaning 49th District. But he's found strong support so far, he said, and will continue to reach out to voters as the campaign picks up.
Service said he hopes people will look at more than just party affiliation when they cast their votes. Just because he has an 'R' next to his name doesn't mean he's a "crazy right-wing extremist," Service said.
"I'm more in the camp of being fiscally conservative and not wasting money," he said.
Service, 40, lives in the Hazel Dell area with his wife and three children. He has lived in the Vancouver area for most of the past 19 years.