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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Washington State Sen. Lynda Wilson to step down from Legislature to spend time with family

Vancouver Republican won't seek reelection this fall

By Dylan Jefferies, Columbian staff writer
Published: March 6, 2024, 7:04pm

State Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, announced Wednesday she is stepping down from the Legislature.

The 17th District lawmaker said she will not seek reelection later this year to spend more time with her family, according to a news release.

Wilson was first elected to the Senate in 2016 after a two-year term in the House of Representatives. She won a second term in 2020.

“We had one grandchild when I ran for office the first time. Now, we have six,” said Wilson, a mother of three. “I’m coming up on being cancer-free for five years. We have a family business that is transitioning into the third generation, and I want to be more involved in the process.”

She and her husband own DeWils Industries, a Vancouver cabinetry business. Wilson’s business background was a factor in her decision to seek election to the House. Since then, she’s become known as a staunch defender of law enforcement, veterans, the Second Amendment and shooting sports.

Throughout her tenure as a lawmaker, she championed tax relief measures and advocated for government accountability.

She has been Republican leader on the Ways & Means Committee since 2021 and was a longtime member of the Law & Justice Committee.

Her leadership on the state operating budget included two years of pandemic-related appropriations, followed by two more years of working to limit spending in anticipation of a slowing state economy.

In 2020, the Tiffany Hill Act was signed into law, capping a three-year effort by Wilson to give domestic-violence victims access to technology designed to help protect them from further abuse.

“I congratulate Sen. Lynda Wilson on her retirement from the Legislature,” Washington Lt. Gov. Denny Heck said in an email. “She has been a principled conservative and has maintained the capacity to work across party lines. I was privileged to work with her at a small credit union in Vancouver 45 years ago, and I have been equally privileged to work together again the last four years. She bravely fought and defeated cancer while continuing to serve, an inspiration to all. I wish her well in her retirement.”

This session, Wilson backed the Senate’s efforts to deal with Washington’s fentanyl crisis, introducing a bill — Senate Bill 5906 — that would implement a statewide drug overdose prevention and education campaign. She has also been a vocal supporter of six Republican-backed citizen initiatives before the Legislature, three of which passed this week.

“Never before has the Legislature enacted three voter initiatives in one year, and these all have to do with very important issues,” she said. “They also line up with my priorities, which are to make Washington safer and more affordable, and make the lives of our children better. It was a privilege to vote yes on all three.”

After the Legislature adjourns today, Wilson plans to meet with residents of her district to report on the session. This summer and fall, she plans to raise awareness about the three initiatives that were not passed by the Legislature but will be before voters on the November general election ballot.

“It’s been such an honor to serve the people of our beloved state, particularly my neighbors in Southwest Washington,” Wilson said. “My experience as a legislator has been fulfilling, educational, trying and humbling, all at the same time. But I’m not done. I’ve made this decision but will keep going full-tilt until it’s time to hand off to someone else. And you never know after that.”

Growing up in an Air Force family who lived around the United States and in Germany before settling in Clark County, Wilson graduated from Evergreen High School and attended Clark College. Her decades of business experience began in the financial sector, working in banking and credit unions before expanding into manufacturing.