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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Vancouver Rep. Paul Harris announces bid for state Senate

Republican will run for Sen. Lynda Wilson’s 17th District seat

By Dylan Jefferies, Columbian staff writer
Published: March 7, 2024, 12:09pm

Vancouver Republican Rep. Paul Harris announced Thursday that he is running for the Washington state Senate in the 17th District.

“After talking this over with family, friends and colleagues, I am excited to announce I am running for the Senate in the area I have been proud to represent over the last 14 years,” Harris said in a statement.

The news follows Republican Sen. Lynda Wilson’s Wednesday announcement that she will not seek reelection.

Both Wilson and Rep. Kevin Waters, Harris’ 17th District seatmates, have endorsed his bid.

“It has been an honor to serve with Paul in the House,” Waters said in a statement. “His leadership is a great asset to our district and the state of Washington. I look forward to seeing the impact he’ll have in the Senate; he has my wholehearted support.”

Harris was first elected to the House in 2010, capturing a seat previously held by a Democrat.

A small business owner and manager, Harris’s priorities include fiscal responsibility, limiting regulations, lowering taxes and improving education.

He currently serves on the boards of Share, the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council and Columbia River Mental Health. He’s also been active with the Boy Scouts of America and serves as an Explorer Scout leader.

Harris served on the Evergreen Public Schools board for 10 years before joining the Legislature, where he served on the McCleary Education Funding Task Force.

A cancer survivor, Harris has been an advocate for cancer research and prevention efforts in the Legislature. In 2019, he championed legislation to raise the age of tobacco sales to 21 and promote the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine.

This session, Harris sponsored a bill — House Bill 2482 — that would reinstate semiconductor tax incentives. The bill passed the House and was amended in the Senate. Amendments will need to be approved by the House before it heads to the governor’s desk.

Harris currently serves on the Appropriations Committee, Education Committee, Health Care & Wellness Committee and Rules Committee.

“I have a proven track record of winning elections, working on bipartisan solutions, and strongly advocating for Southwest Washington,” Harris said in a statement. “We need to make sure people have jobs, keep our tax rates low, have access to affordable housing, allow businesses to be productive and provide a quality education for our children. I am a strong believer in public health and strong communities, and I will exhaust every effort in a non-partisan fashion to serve this district and our citizens. I’m ready to take these priorities to the Senate.”

Harris has lived in Vancouver with his wife for roughly 30 years. They have five grown children and nine grandchildren.