PORT ANGELES — Joyce Republican Connie Beauvais will run against Democratic 24th District state Sen. Kevin Van De Wege of Sequim in the Nov. 3 election, she announced Tuesday.
Beauvais, a Port of Port Angeles commissioner sworn in for a second term Jan. 6, said in an interview Tuesday that she decided “real close to the [November] election” to run against Van De Wege, a former five-term state representative before winning his first Senate term in 2016.
“I was not thinking about it until way late in summer,” Beauvais said.
She said what “put me over the edge” was the financial damage that decisions involving marbled murrelet forest habitat have on the budgets of volunteer fire departments, especially on the North Olympic Peninsula.
Beauvais, manager and operator of the Crescent Water Association, announced her candidacy Tuesday in a press release she said was issued by her political consultant, Justin Matheson.
“We need to find real solutions to making our public forests healthy and our waters clean, while growing our timber and fishing industries,” she said in the release.
The 24th District represents Clallam and Jefferson counties and the northern half of Grays Harbor County.
The district also is represented by Democratic state Reps. Mike Chapman of Port Angeles and Steve Tharinger of Port Townsend.
“Just recently, our district legislative leaders voted on $25 billion in new taxes … during a budget surplus. Even though our voters voted overwhelmingly against these taxes,” Beauvais said in the release.
That legislative session ended April 28. A new session began Monday.
“I am saying the Legislature approved $25 billion in new taxes, and that included our three legislators, even though on advisory ballots that involved asking the voters if they would approve new taxes, they said no,” Beauvais said, adding she did not know how much in taxes were on the advisory ballots.
The advisory ballots were Nov. 5.
“I don’t know where she’s getting that number from,” Van De Wege said in an interview regarding the tax total.
He said he had “heard a rumor” Beauvais would run against him.
“Nobody likes paying taxes, but we all are in need of services, whether it’s public safety or education or a safety net, so it’s my job to balance tax dollars and the need for public services,” Van De Wege said.
Beauvais said she also is concerned that state government lacks checks and balances with so many Democrats in control.
“Our state government is controlled by one party,” she said.
Beauvais also criticized Van De Wege being too close to the Democratic Party and, politically, to the Seattle area.
“I feel that our state senator is more closely aligned with his party and the I-5 corridor than what the constituents in this legislative district need to move into a prosperous future,” she said.
“These are the same old talking points,” responded Van De Wege, who won his first House term in 2004 by defeating incumbent Republican Jim Buck of Joyce.
“I’m hoping she actually brings something new,” he said.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].