Chamber sponsors candidate debates

MARYSVILLE — The Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce begins its annual candidate forums with the contenders for state legislative seats in the 39th and 44th districts.

Judging from the results of the Aug. 19 primary, the contest for the 44th District Position 2 Representative seat could be extremely close.

In the primary, incumbent Democratic Rep. Liz Loomis barely beat out Republican challenger Mike Hope. According to the county auditor’s office, official numbers have Loomis earning 15,212 votes, or 50.55 percent, compared to Hope’s 15,101 votes, or 49.21 percent.

There also were 75 write-in votes.

Hope is making his third try for a legislative seat, having lost two previous bids to unseat Rep. Hans Dunshee. Loomis was appointed in January of this year to fill the vacated seat of then newly elected Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick.

Previously, Loomis served on the Snohomish City Council for three terms before being elected that city’s mayor in 2003.

Hope is currently a Seattle police officer who also operates his own fitness facility. According to information supplied by the chamber, both candidates are concentrating on issues such as education, traffic relief and the economy.

In the 39th District state Senate race, Democrat and former Sultan Police Chief Fred Walser is trying to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Val Stevens.

According to the chamber, adding some intrigue to this race is the one-year suspended sentence Walser received after pleading guilty in June to a gross misdemeanor. The incident apparently took place while Walser was Sultan police chief.

Again, according to the chamber, Walser’s campaign has been stressing a need for more transportation and telecommuting options in light of high gas prices and that strong legislation is needed in the case of sex offenders.

Stevens states that she will continue to combat tax increases, lobby for road and safety improvements and increase private sector employment.

According to the county, Stevens took in 14,156 votes, 59.57 percent compared to Walser’s 9,520 or 40.06 percent. There also were 87 write-in votes.

Head of the chamber’s government affairs committee, chamber member David Toyer will moderate the debates. The event is scheduled for 7-9 a.m., Oct. 3 at the Tulalip Casino Resort Canoes Cabaret Room.

Reservations are $23 person and those interested can RSVP by calling the chamber at 360-659-7700.

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