Democrat enters 16th District fray


Mary Ruth Edwards


Rebecca Francik


Bill Jenkin


Skyler Rude

— A mayor pro tempore is in the running for the 16th Legislative District’s Position 1 seat.

Rebecca Francik is a city council member running as a Democrat for the seat being vacated by Rep. Maureen Walsh, who is seeking the district’s State Senate post.

Francik said her experiences in agriculture, education, infrastructure and local government qualify her for the Legislature.

Her background also includes being appointed by governors Christine Gregoire and Gary Locke to the Public Works Trust Fund and the Freight Mobility Strategic Investment Board.

Francik said her priorities, if elected, would include “… fully funding Washington education, maintaining and improving our primary infrastructure, ensuring every person has the right to determine and manage their own healthcare, and equal pay for equal work for women and minorities.”

Francik is the lone Democrat in what is so far a five-way race to replace Walsh.

The other candidates are Republicans Allen Pomraning, Bill Jenkin, Skyler Rude and Mary Ruth Edwards.

Pomraning is mayor of Walla Walla. He said his 2017 legislative priorities would include jobs, economic development and public education.

He said Eastern Washington needs to flex its muscle more in the state Legislature.

“As the west side of the State grows and prospers, Eastern Washington is slowly losing its voice in the legislative process,” Pomraning said.

Jenkin is president of the Prosser School Board. He is an Edward Jones financial adviser and winery owner.

His business background and School Board experience have prepared him for the Legislature, he said.

“What I bring to the district is serious leadership and experience,” he said.

If elected, Jenkin said his focus will be on reducing small business regulations.

Rude is Walsh’s former legislative aide. The Walla Walla native said he believes the time is right to seek his former boss’ post.

“I talked to folks in the community, elected officials, and decided this was the best time,” he said.

Walsh has endorsed his candidacy.

Edwards is a Prosser City Councilwoman and first-grade teacher at Whitstran Elementary School.

“As state representative, I will be your voice in Olympia,” she said.

The 16th District covers Walla Walla and Columbia counties, along with areas of Benton County that include Prosser.


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