Incumbent Drew Stokesbary (R-Auburn) and Republican Eric E. Robertson are flying high this election day, as it seems they are in the clear to represent Legislative District 31 for the next two years.
As of 1 a.m. on Nov. 4, Stokesbary was easily shaking off challenger Democrat Katie Young with 62 percent of the vote for Position No. 1. Robertson also broke away early from his opponent, Democrat Thomas Clark, with nearly 62 percent of the vote as well.
MEET YOUR REPS — STOKESBARY
Stokesbary has been representing his legislative district since 2015, making this win his fourth term in the legislature.
“I decided to run for reelection because I want to continue advocating in Olympia for what matters to our community: a strong economy, world-class education opportunities and safe and healthy neighborhoods,” he wrote in an in-paper debate with The Courier-Herald in Enumclaw. “I have the experience needed to solve these problems and make these decisions. During my three terms in the Legislature, I have sponsored a variety of pieces of legislation that achieved bipartisan support and were signed into law. I was elected into caucus leadership by my colleagues on the first week of my second term and became Minority Floor Leader. Last year I was appointed the ‘Ranking Member’ on the Appropriations Committee, which means I serve as the lead budget writer, negotiator and communicator for House Republicans.”
During the in-paper debate, Stokesbary touted his work with the 2017 McCleary Decision legislation, argued against a “capital gains” or income tax; contended that the Discover Pass — which allows people to visit state parks, for a fee — be done away with, making visiting Washington’s beautiful parks free for visitors; and advocated for the need for increased law enforcement training, including making it a requirements for law enforcement officers to intervene or report whenever another officer uses excessive force or violates an individual’s rights. This was in light of the recent incidents of and protests against police brutality against the Black community.
“While much remains to be done to avoid more senseless tragedies, rather than defunding the police, I will proudly defend the police officers who keep us safe and treat everyone with dignity and respect,” Stokesbary said.
Robertson is returning to the 31st District after serving from 1994 to 1998 (and was the Majority Caucus Chairman in 1996), when he then left to be full time State Patrol.
“He quickly climbed the ranks and became commander of Government and Media Relations and the Office of Professional Standards, working on agency accountability,” his introduction in his in-paper debate in the Courier-Herald reads. “In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed him to be the U.S. Marshal for Western Washington. During his tenure, law enforcement teams sought fugitives from justice and sex offenders, arresting 3,000 suspects from 36 states and eight foreign countries. Eric also led the U.S. Marshal’s Strategic Planning team, assessing organizational, unit and initiative performance. His work earned him the Director’s Honorary Award.”
After serving as U.S. Marshal, Robertson led the organization of the Valley Regional Fire Authority and served as its administrator. For his work, we was awarded the Fire Chiefs Association President’s Award in 2018.
Robertson retired a year later.
In the debate with his opponent, Robertson warned against the dangers of the “defund the police” movement, though he advocated for government and law enforcement accountability; railed against the controversial Senate Bill 5395 — colloquially known as Washington’s sex-ed bill; argued the need to examine government programs and cut those that do not produce results in order to help balance the state budget; and pledged to support local news outlets by fighting to lower taxes on related businesses.
“My past leadership on taxes and government accountability earned the respect of my colleagues in the state legislature… Before leaving to serve full time in the State Patrol in 1998, my leadership also earned several “Legislator of the Year” awards from community groups,” Robertson wrote. “I’m proud of my experience in Washington politics. Voters can trust me to deliver for them because I have delivered for them.”