In publishing our series of recommendations for the Nov. 3 general election, members of The Columbian’s Editorial Board would be remiss if we did not mention state Rep. Paul Harris. The Vancouver Republican has earned reelection in the 17th Legislative District.
On the ballot, Harris is listed along with challenger Bryan White, a fellow Republican who has dropped out of the race. Harris received 66 percent of the vote in a two-person primary in August; because his reelection appears to be assured, members of the editorial board did not conduct candidate interviews in this race.
We do, however, believe that Harris deserves the support of voters. A state representative since 2010, he is an old-school statesman who sticks to his conservative values while managing to find common ground with Democrats. He has served as House minority whip and more recently as the minority caucus chair, reflecting the respect he has engendered in Olympia.
More important, Harris has been an effective legislator. He has been a leader in passing legislation to limit exemptions for childhood vaccinations and in raising the age for the purchase of tobacco and vaping products to 21. He was named the Washington State Medical Association’s Legislator of the Year for his work on those bills.
Meanwhile, Harris has consistently opposed higher taxes and has stayed true to other conservative values. His campaign website reads: “Having employed several workers and labored with multiple diverse small businesses over the years, he also has had personal experience with the devastating impact of excessive taxation and government intrusion and regulation into private sector businesses.”
It is understandable that Harris is not facing an active challenge in this election; as The Columbian wrote editorially in 2018, he has “been a thoughtful lawmaker who tempers his conservative beliefs with a welcome dose of pragmatism.” The editorial board recommends Paul Harris for reelection in the 17th District.