The list of candidates in contention for the state House of Representatives 17th District seat grew by one Thursday. Republican Anthony Ho announced he is running for the seat currently held by Rep. Vicki Kraft.
Kraft is leaving the Legislature to challenge longtime U.S. Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler for her 3rd District seat.
In an interview Thursday, Ho said he decided to run because the interests of voters in Clark and Skamania counties are being ignored by legislators. One example, he said, is the addition of light rail to the Interstate 5 Bridge replacement project.
“The residents of Clark County have repeatedly said that’s not really something they want. And yet, time and time again, we keep seeing that’s exactly what they keep trying to impose,” he said.
Other issues that Ho said are important to voters but have been ignored include homelessness, rising crime rates, mental health and addiction, personal rights and the economy.
Ho is a 26-year veteran of federal law enforcement, serving with the U.S. Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security. Prior to his retirement in 2012, he was the assistant special agent in charge of homeland security investigations in San Francisco.
Not surprisingly, law enforcement issues also topped Ho’s list of priorities.
“Up in Olympia, they’ve decided they want put these restrictions on police pursuits, which is not something people down here really want. They want the police to be able fight crime and enforce laws,” he said. “Most recently, they tried to fix that and still couldn’t get it through the Legislature during the recent session.”
There was one particular moment that led Ho to abandon his plans to relax and enjoy his retirement: Gov. Jay Inslee’s response to questions about the 2020 Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) and related occupied protest in Seattle.
“Gov. Jay Inslee went on television, and during the course of the interview they asked him about the CHAZ takeover in Seattle. He disclaimed any knowledge of it, even though he was well aware of it,” Ho said. “To be honest, that upset me because it struck me as being very arrogant toward the needs of the voters.”
He said that was when he realized he couldn’t sit on the sidelines any longer.
A Vancouver resident since 2013, Ho previously served as president of his homeowners’ association and has volunteered with several community organizations.
Look for Ho’s campaign page on Facebook at https://bit.ly/38l68jM.