Election 2020: State Senate, District 19: Takko faces 2 challengers


Edited by Diana Zimmerman

The 2020 race for the state Senate pits Democrat incumbent Dean Takko against two Republican challengers, Wes Comier and Jeff Wilson.

The Eagle asked each a set of questions about themselves, and here are their responses (edited for brevity).

Dean Takko

Dean Takko is the incumbent running for State Senator of the 19th District.

He attended Wahkiakum High School, Lower Columbia College, and received a Bachelor of Science from Western Washington University in 1972.

Takko was Wahkiakum County Assessor from 1975 to 1978, the Cowlitz County Chief Deputy Assessor from 1978-1998, Cowlitz County Assessor from 1999-2004. He was on the Cathlamet City Council from 1974-1975, Beacon Hill Water and Sewer District Committee from 1984-2014, Cathlamet and Cowlitz District 2 Volunteer Firefighter 1975-2005, Washington Association of County Officials Board of Directors 1999-2005, Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Red Cross Board of Directors from 1994-2000, and the Lower Columbia Fish Recovery Board from 2011 to present day.

“In the tough upcoming session dealing with covid-19 and the large budget shortfall, I have the experience working with all sides of the political spectrum to craft answers that will address the problems facing the legislature,” Takko wrote.

“I hope to represent the values of the district, and protect capital and transportation projects in the district,” he said. “As chair of the Local Government Committee, my main emphasis for the session will be to help local governments get through the financial crisis they are in from dealing with the cost of covid-19.”

Wes Cormier

Wes Cormier is challenging incumbent Dean Takko for the Washington State Legislative District 19 Senate seat.

“I am a longtime resident of southwest Washington,” Cormier wrote. “My wife, Ambrea and I have been married for 13 years and are raising three sons. Our sons, Noah, Samuel and Michael are currently attending Elma Elementary School.

Cormier was a Grays Harbor County Juvenile Officer from 2003-2005.

“I was responsible for assisting in the day-to-day operation of the detention center that houses juveniles,” Cormier said. “I was required to ensure the safety and security of staff and the facility. I was responsible for facilitating activities of daily living, intakes, court appointments and program activities throughout the day. This was truly an amazing and memorable experience that allowed me to work with and help troubled youth in our area.

From 2005 to 2012, Cormier was a Senior Real Estate Appraiser.

“My primary responsibility as a Senior Real Estate Appraiser was to analyze and value residential property according to Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP) guidelines,” he said. “Complete real estate appraisals within my defined revaluation area. I was responsible for collection and analysis of all data relevant to my work area. My time as a Real Estate Appraiser gave me insight into how government interacts with property owners, it is also where I developed my strong passion and advocacy for property rights. I understand the property tax system of Washington State, how the levy process works for schools, hospital districts, fire districts, cities and counties. I learned a great deal about land use, development and real estate during my time as an appraiser.

Cormier currently serves as a Grays Harbor County Commissioner, and was elected to the position in 2012.

“As a Grays Harbor County Commissioner, I have three major roles,” he wrote. “I represent the citizens as a legislator, administrator and I also serve at times in a quasi-judicial capacity. I set (and manage) a more than a $100 million dollar budget every year, negotiate contracts, and partner in serving as the executive of the county directly overseeing around 200 employees. I understand how the bureaucratic process works and how to navigate it. During our budget time I work and build relationships with 14 other elected officials. I am running on my record, not away from it as a County Commissioner. I have made many positive changes for the people of Grays Harbor throughout the last 7 years. I will continue these efforts for the people of the 19th Legislative District at the State level.”

“Throughout my working career I have also coached high school, junior high school and youth wrestling,” he added.

“My run for the Washington State Senate is a result of a series of reasons and experiences. In 2012, I decided to run for Grays Harbor County Commissioner because I wanted to make sure my sons grew up in a better, freer community. After serving eight years as a County Commissioner it was clear that the State of Washington is relentless in its pursuit to impose overreaching land use rules and regulations, unfunded mandates and a myriad of other burdens on local governments and its citizens. My experience as a County Commissioner has given me great insight into understanding how to navigate local and state bureaucracy. I am running for the Washington State Senate because I have the experience, proven record and know-how to make real change.

“I hope to successfully implement term limits for all state level politicians.

“I would like to amend the emergency powers of the Governor. Our system of self-governance was never meant to give one individual so much power over citizens, businesses or the economy.

“I would like to work on issues related to property rights, government transparency and as a fiscal conservative, all things budgetary.”

Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson is challenging Dean Takko for the 19th District Senate seat.

Wilson attended Mark Morris High School and Western Washington University. He has started several businesses, including Cowlitz Clean Sweep, Inc., JONCO Portable Station, Tamco Unlimited, PSS, LLC, and TPI Portable Sanitation. He has an extensive public service record, including having served on the Longview Port Commission, on the Elected Salary Commission, on the Longview School Advisory Committee, as a soccer coach, and a volunteer soccer referee, and more. He supports the Humane Society and CASA. He is married, with two children, and has been a resident of southwest Washington for 50 years. He has received several service awards including the Key to the City of Longview, a Longview Police Citizen’s Award, a Shay Day Proclamation Award, and an Extra Mile Award.

“I am seeking the position of 19th Legislative District State Senator to restore the voters’ voice in our legislature and rebuild the voter’s trust in our government,” Wilson wrote. “This motivation arose from repeatedly seeing our rural communities subjected to Seattle oriented policies and control. All too often the will of the voter is sidelined in favor of unwarranted spending as Olympia’s current majority pushes through their locally unpopular policies. Overall, this has weakened people’s faith in State government.

“Title only bills are a direct example of this since they allow legislation to be pushed to the floor without following the legislative process. This has removed accountability, the chance for credible public discussion, and transparency. I firmly believe that one of the first steps towards restoring Washingtonian’s faith in government is halting this willful deception. We must address this issue for the voter’s sake as well as that of the legislative process.

As a business owner, employee, and property owner I feel the burden that many residents of the 19th also feel. Over the past few years, our rural communities have been left out of the bustling economy that the Seattle area has enjoyed. While Olympia has proceeded to max out our taxpayer credit card with its reckless spending, the taxpayers have suffered from new fees, increasing taxes, and even more roadblocks for businesses.

Covid-19 has caught us all by surprise, but I feel that now, more than ever, new leadership is needed. There needs to be a balance of power which allows for healthy debate rather than one-sided politics. I believe in the government’s responsibility to its citizens, and I am running to enforce that responsibility during a time when so many have been failed by the Employment Security Department and other government functions.

As a Port commissioner I have kept my campaign promises by reducing taxes and fees, while operating as a financially transparent public business. I would like to do the same in Olympia and help our local economy recover from the Covid shock.

What do you hope to accomplish?

Government Transparency: I believe it is the legislator’s job to respect and enforce the Constitution. In such a Legislature there is no place for “title only bills.” I hope to bring honesty and openness to our government functions and will stand against these deceptive tactics.

Financial Responsibility: Reckless spending has become commonplace in Olympia. During this time of economic uncertainty, it is especially important to budget within our economic forecasts while always respecting the will of the voters.

Economic Recovery: There are difficult decisions ahead as we grapple with our state’s reduced revenue and budget. Southwest Washington needs to get back to work, and our economy needs to heal. We cannot tax our way out of this budget shortfall and expect a healthy economy at the end of it. It is important for our government to constrain itself to a budget which reflects the circumstances we find ourselves in rather than the ones we wish ourselves to be in. As senator I would work to alleviate the burden on our taxpayers, small businesses, and property owners.

Preserve Local Voice: I chose to live in the 19th District because of its unique beauty, traditional values, and communities. It is not Seattle, and no one should force it to be. I hope to preserve local control so that families can decide what is best for them rather than the government deciding for them.


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