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WA Republican gubernatorial candidate talks public safety in Spokane

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Dave Reichart returned to Spokane last week to introduce himself to a group of about 100 people at a private event Thursday night. Nadine Woodward, former mayor of Spokane, acted as emcee.

Referring to the 18-month-long homeless protest along Interstate 90 known as Camp Hope, Woodward said she “really likes his plan to address homeless encampments on WSDOT rights-of-way.” She introduced Reichart as “the best hope for the state of Washington.”

Reichert told the crowd participation is critical.

“It is so important to be involved in politics because the world has turned upside down,” he said. “We blame victims and excuse criminals.”

Reichart first came to public prominence for his two-decade pursuit of one of the country’s most notorious criminals, Green River Killer Gary Ridgway. After pleading guilty to 49 murders, Ridgway was sentenced to life in prison in 2003.

“We had a great team working on it. Everything I’ve done in my life has been a team effort, and I was just the face of the team,” said Reichart, who cited life-or-death experiences in law enforcement as key to building his desire to serve.

Reichart was elected to two terms as King County Sheriff before running for an open 8th Congressional District seat in 2004. He served 14 years representing portions of King and Pierce counties. Kittitas and Chelan counties were added to the 8th Congressional District after the 2010 redistricting.

Local attorney Julie Olds was one of the sponsors for the event.

“I believe our state needs a governor who would defend our constitutional rights, specifically private property rights, religious freedom, freedom of speech and the rights of parents regarding their children,” she said. “Dave Reichert has an established record as a strong leader, who would defend those rights on behalf of the citizens of our state.”

Reichart said he got into the governor’s race because he was “very much bothered when [Gov. Jay] Inslee said he looked forward to handing the keys to the governor’s mansion to [state Attorney General] Bob Ferguson like he was anointing a king. We are not the servants of the state.”

He highlighted four key issues for his campaign: public safety, mental health and substance abuse leading to rising homelessness, an economy pulled down by higher taxes, and education.

“Your kids are yours,” said Reichart. “How many people here have had friends or relatives move or talking about moving out of state?”

About half the room raised their hands.

“The good thing about having a Republican governor when the House and Senate are controlled by Democrats is bad bills would be vetoed, vetoed, vetoed,” said Reichart.

Semi Bird, former Richland School Board member, is also running for governor on the Republican roster.

Democratic gubernatorial candidates are Ferguson and state Sen. Mark Mullet.