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Long-time Washington Republican not running for re-election

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(The Center Square) – Washington state Rep. J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, announced Wednesday that he will not run for re-election.

“By the end of this term, I will have spent 14 years serving in the WA House of Representatives,” he said in an email. “That’s enough.”

Wilcox was first elected to the House in 2010, representing Washington’s 2nd Legislative District that runs mostly east-west along the southern portion of Pierce County but also includes parts of Thurston County, including Yelm and Lacey.

In March 2018, Wilcox was elected minority leader by the House Republican Caucus, following the retirement of Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish. Wilcox resigned from his position as minority leader at the close of the 2023 legislative session and was replaced by Rep. Drew Stokesbary, R-Auburn.

Wilcox, 61, was born in Yelm and grew up on a family farm in rural Pierce County, which he still calls home. He graduated from Washington State University with a bachelor’s degree in history.

He was employed for nearly a quarter-century at his family farm business, Wilcox Farms, as an operations manager before serving as chief operating officer and then chief financial officer.

Wilcox praised the current House Republican caucus as “the best version of this caucus that I’ve ever served with.”

He did lament what he characterized as the rise of partisan politics in the Legislature.

“I have mixed feelings about not running for re-election,” he said. “The state is facing serious issues and I’ve never been a quitter. The Legislature has become much too concerned about the origin of an idea rather than the quality of the idea.”

He went on to say, “When I was first elected, I was also in the minority and was on the losing side of many votes but I had confidence that leaders, though pursuing different policies, felt a deep commitment to the success of the things they passed and the best function of state agencies. It doesn’t feel exactly the same now. Single-party thinking has solidified into concrete.”

Despite that, Wilcox remains optimistic about the future

“Besides the great Republicans I mentioned above, there are Democrats with whom I disagree sometimes but trust to be honest and deeply committed,” Wilcox said. “As long as we have Democrats like Larry Springer, Frank Chopp and Mike Chapman, we will have people who can be partners in the coming re-emergence of a government that works.”

He concluded, “We need a new generation to put our government back together, and I am 100% sure that the younger leader who will replace me and the younger people I know in the House Republican Caucus, along with the Democrats I mentioned above, can and will do it. I will be cheering them on from the sidelines.”