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In 17th District race, spotlight shines on funding sources

Wilson has own money; Stonier appeals to unions

By , Columbian Political Writer
Published: October 18, 2014, 5:00pm

Lynda Wilson

o Age: 56

o City: Vancouver

o Occupation: governmental affairs director of DeWils Industries

o Party affiliation: Republican

o Endorsements include: Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center; Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas; Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver; AJ Gomez, owner of Global Security

o Total funds raised: $266,622.85

o Campaign website: www.electlyndawilson.com

Monica Stonier

o Age: 38

o City: Vancouver

o Occupation: Educational coach

o Party affiliation: Democratic

o Endorsements include: Washington Education Association; Washington State Nurses Association; Washington State Fire Fighters Association; Prosecutor Tony Golik; David and Patricia Nierenberg.

Lynda Wilson

o Age: 56

o City: Vancouver

o Occupation: governmental affairs director of DeWils Industries

o Party affiliation: Republican

o Endorsements include: Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center; Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas; Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver; AJ Gomez, owner of Global Security

o Total funds raised: $266,622.85

o Campaign website: www.electlyndawilson.com

Monica Stonier

o Age: 38

o City: Vancouver

o Occupation: Educational coach

o Party affiliation: Democratic

o Endorsements include: Washington Education Association; Washington State Nurses Association; Washington State Fire Fighters Association; Prosecutor Tony Golik; David and Patricia Nierenberg.

o Total funds raised: $239,675.64

o Campaign website: www.votemonicastonier.com

o Total funds raised: $239,675.64

o Campaign website: www.votemonicastonier.com

In the competitive race for the 17th Legislative District’s House Position 1, challenger Lynda Wilson recently unveiled a campaign advertisement blasting her opponent, Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, as being funded by “big union bosses.”

Wilson’s advertisement comes on the heels of the Washington Education Association’s reporting $150,000 to buy a commercial backing Stonier.

Tracy Wilson, Lynda’s husband, wrote on his wife’s Facebook page the unions don’t want to lose their “taxpayer funded WEA representative to the Legislature.”

In this swing district, the race has been tense from the start.

In 2012, Stonier won her first bid for election to the state House by only 140 votes. In this year’s primary, she was the only local incumbent in a two-way race who trailed; Stonier garnered 48.35 percent of the votes to Wilson’s 51.65 percent.

Stonier resists the Wilsons’ assertions that she is a pawn of unions. A teacher’s instructional coach, she said she doesn’t vote in lockstep with any group. But she added, “if it’s the best they can come up with that I have the backing of working people, then I think I will be fine.”

Stonier pointed out that one of the toughest decisions facing the state will be how to adequately fund the state’s public schools and satisfy the state Supreme Court’s ruling in the McCleary case.

“I don’t think Lynda should be too surprised the teachers weigh in so heavily in my race when this is a year when a teacher’s perspective is going to be more needed than ever in the Legislature,” Stonier said.

Stonier is hoping for a high voter turnout.

“It’s going to be a close race,” she said. “If people turn in their ballots, I will be in better shape.”

Wilson is the former county Republican chairwoman. Her family owns DeWils Industries, a cabinet manufacturer and appliance sales business.

She is a National Rifle Association instructor and a gun rights activist, and says she believes in small government, fewer taxes and less regulation.

Stonier has called Wilson a member of the “extreme right.” Wilson said she appeals to many sides of the Republican party.

Having infused her own campaign with cash from her own bank account, Wilson blasted her opponent for taking union money that comes from compulsory dues.

“It’s union money that is coming into that campaign. I don’t have that kind of money coming into my campaign … Not even close,” Wilson said.

At a recent candidates forum, Wilson said she’s not running to be a career politician but “genuinely concerned with the direction of our state.” She plans to vote against the initiative to expand background checks on gun sales and is in favor of requiring a two-thirds majority before lawmakers can raise taxes.

Wilson said she’s run a good campaign.

“It’s been run with integrity; we haven’t slammed anyone. It’s all true and I’m proud of it,” Wilson said.

Stonier said she’s hearing people are ready for a government that isn’t paralyzed by partisan bickering. She said she has a track record of working with both Republicans and Democrats.

“People are tired of government shutting down when decisions get hard,” she said.

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