Former Republican congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler announced on Wednesday morning her candidacy to become the next Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands.
Herrera Beutler, who represented Washington’s 3rd Congressional District from 2012 to 2023, will run against at least six other candidates who have so far announced election bids.
“I spent a dozen years in Congress fighting for more resources to responsibly manage our forests, remove the dead and diseased trees that serve as fuel for the fires that plague us every summer and quickly fight the fires that do occur,” Herrera Beutler said in a news release. “I’ll do the same as Lands Commissioner.”
The announcement came one day after the Seattle Times reported that Herrera Beutler was planning to run for the position.
Through the Department of Natural Resources, the commissioner of public lands manages nearly 6 million acres of public lands and enforces laws related to logging practices, reforestation requirements and extraction of natural resources, according to the state’s website. The commissioner also oversees the DNR’s wildfire protection and suppression programs.
During her time in Congress, Herrera Beutler helped pass public lands-related legislation, including laws on forest management, wildfire prevention, species conservation and recreational accessibility, according to the release.
“We are so fortunate to live in America’s most beautiful state, and all of us have a responsibility to keep it that way,” Herrera Beutler said in the release. “I will work with tribes, scientists, landowners, sportsmen, the forest industry and conservation groups to make sure Washington’s forests and diverse array of species and habitats thrive, and to preserve access to recreational use of public land for its owners — the people of Washington.”
Commissioner Hilary Franz, a Democrat who has held the position since 2017, announced in May she would not seek a third term and instead launched her 2024 campaign for governor after incumbent Jay Inslee said he would step aside.
If elected, Herrera Beutler would be the first Republican to hold the position in 14 years, according to Ballotpedia.