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Bailey seeks 10th District State Senate seat held by Haugen
Flanked by family members, supporters and well-known Whidbey Republicans, Barbara Bailey announced at a Monday morning event in Oak Harbor that she is running for a Washington State Senate seat.
Rumors have been swirling around Oak Harbor for months that Bailey, a longtime Republican state representative, will seek the District 10 Senate seat currently held by Mary Margaret Haugen (D-Camano). Bailey confirmed the rumors, explaining that the continuing problems with the budget and the inability to find solutions in Olympia has “driven” her to it.
“It’s ridiculous that we continue to find ourselves in this situation over and over again,” she said, noting that lawmakers are once again in an extended special session to deal with budget cuts.
Haugen, the longtime chairwoman of the powerful transportation committee, sent out a press release Monday morning to announce that she will seek reelection. The statement says she plans to make a formal announcement after the special session is over.
“I’m proud of the transportation budget we passed — on time and in a truly bipartisan manner — that creates 43,000 jobs across our state, which is what the people sent us here to do,” Haugen said in the press release.
“I’m still working on bills that I hope to pass before the special session ends, bills that are very important to the people in my district. Those are my priorities. There will be plenty of time to worry about elections once we’ve finished our work in Olympia.”
Tom Riggs, a Camano Island Democrat, has already announced that he will run for the Bailey’s current House seat as state representative. Bailey said in an interview that a number of potential Republican candidates are also interested in the position.
Bailey said she’s happy about the shape of redistricting, which will likely made District 10 more conservative. The district now extends farther into rural areas of Skagit County and urban areas of Mount Vernon.
“It’s a good fit,” she said. “We do a lot of work in Mount Vernon and Burlington already because many people who live in my district work there.”
Bailey said her campaign would focus on job creation, controlling government spending and improving public schools. She said state government can assist the private sector by creating a job-friendly tax structure, reduce costly and unnecessary regulations, and recruit new employers to the area.
Monday morning, Bailey’s son, Neil Floyd, and her husband, Butch Bailey, both introduced her.
“I believe with all my heart that God put her in that position because there was a need,” Butch said, “and she fulfilled that need.”
Butch emphasized his wife’s strong moral fiber and her spirituality. In a foreshadowing of the campaign to come, he said she would never impugn someone’s integrity or “go after” an individual’s character. He referred to her as “a little ball of fire, a little wad of energy.”