NEAH BAY — Makah Tribal Council member Nate Tyler has announced his intention to run for Washington state’s 24th Legislative District seat that is now held by Rep. Mike Chapman in 2024.
Tyler said in a press release that health equity and veterans’ issues would be top priorities.
“My values are simple: educate our children. Take care of our elders. Honor our veterans,” Tyler said.
On his campaign website at votenatetyler.com, he said: “For far too long, our communities have been underserved and ignored.”
Tyler said he has secured endorsements from Chapman, a Democrat from Port Angeles; Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz; State Rep. Debra Lekanoff, D-Skagit County; the Native American Caucus of Washington State Democrats and VoteVets, a progressive political action committee that supports progressive veteran candidates, as well as the Lower Elwha, Hoh, Jamestown S’Klallam and other tribes.
Tyler — who did not immediately return request for comment — does not state a party preference in his announcement. He has secured endorsements from Democrats.
Chapman — who’s served in District 24’s Position 1 seat since 2017 — has announced he will run for the state Senate seat in the district which is now held by Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, who is running for Commissioner of Public Lands.
Tyler was born and raised on the Makah Indian Reservation and in 2000, he became one of the youngest to serve on the Makah Tribal Council, including serving as the elected tribal chairman, he said.
According to the release, Tyler has previously worked as a commercial fisherman, a logger, a police officer and also worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A Marine Corps veteran who served in the First Gulf War and in Somalia, Tyler now owns and operates a small welding business in Neah Bay and has coached youth sports.
“Warrior” is the English translation of Tyler’s tribal name, he said, adding that he had received his tribal name upon returning home from military service.
His service was in the 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines, as a Lance Corporal, he said.
His press release says: “Like many others who go through the armed forces, he sustained an injury that led to a disability and suffered from drug addiction at the end of his enlistment. In 1995, through dedication and the support from loved ones, he was able to go through recovery, get back on his feet, and start a family. He and his wife of over 25 years, Karen, now have four grown kids, and are the proud grandparents to three granddaughters and one grandson.”
If elected, improving state social services will be a priority for Tyler.
“The fentanyl crisis has strained many of Washington’s systems, affecting everyone, from children to elders,” the release said. “(Tyler) believes in an “all-hands-on-deck approach” — working with community leaders, the judiciary, law enforcement, mental and behavioral health systems, tribal sovereign nations and others to create the best path forward.
Washington’s 24th District covers most of the Olympic Peninsula including all of Clallam and Jefferson counties and part of Grays Harbor County.
The candidate filing period with the Washington Secretary of State’s Office opens in May.
Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at email@example.com.