By Dick Clever
For the News-Times
The reapportionment of the 10th Legislative District left it much as it was before – a swing district evenly divided between Republican and Democratic voters.
The race to fill the open House seat in the 10th features two civil servants from opposing parties.
Republican David Hayes is a newcomer to electoral politics, but is familiar with the terrain of the state capital through his work as president of a state law-enforcement group.
Thomas Riggs, a Democrat and state park ranger, is making his second run for the House seat. He lost by a substantial margin to Republican state Rep. Barbara Bailey in the 2010 election.
Both men live on Camano Island.
The moderate views of both candidates for the state House seat vacated by Bailey seem to fit with the demographics of the district. Bailey gave up her House seat to run against Democratic state Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen.
The close vote in the primary election had Riggs about 3 percentage points behind Hayes, the only other candidate.
Hayes is a Snohomish County Sheriff’s sergeant and president of the 4,500-member Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS), an organization representing the interests of rank and file law enforcement officers.
“I am not an anti-tax guy,” declares David Hayes, thereby setting himself apart from the most conservative elements of his Republican base.
Hayes does say, however, that he would vote to raise taxes only after the taxpayers can be shown that all economies have been achieved in state spending.
“I’m very conservative fiscally,” he said. “If we are to propose a new tax, we’d better be able to show that we’re responsible on spending.”
Riggs likewise presents himself as a watchdog of taxpayer dollars, calling for reforms in state purchasing practices and a hard look at the hundreds of exemptions in the state tax code for corporations.
“We’ve got 520 different tax exemptions ... and others that are not reflective of the way we live our lives,” Riggs said.
Riggs said that he might consider a state income tax, but “only as part of comprehensive tax reform.” He noted that many business owners are opposed to the state’s business and occupation tax, which taxes gross sales, not net income.
Hayes has been embraced by the state’s Republican establishment, receiving a $25,000 contribution to his campaign from the House Republican Campaign Committee and large donations from other GOP groups.
He has also drawn endorsements and contributions from numerous law enforcement unions and interest groups.
As of last week (Oct. 2) Hayes had raised $93,844 for his campaign and had spent only $24,260. Besides law enforcement contributors, Hayes has attracted donations from real estate, banking and other business groups.
Riggs has raised a little more than half that at $53,262, including $20,000 from the state House Democratic Campaign Committee and individual contributors, but has spent only $17,800 so far. He says he’ll make up much of that gap with a good ground game with many volunteers doorbelling the district on his behalf.
Hayes is a graduate of Everett Community College and teaches criminal justice courses there. He served in the Navy, stationed at the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, and later worked for the Boeing Co. He became a Marysville police officer and is currently a Snohomish County deputy.
Hayes says lobbying the state Legislature on behalf of WACOPS introduced him to the ways of the state capital. He says that experience prepared him to be an effective representative should he win election.
Riggs also carries a badge and a gun, but not on the mean streets of the city. He is a park ranger who has spent 15 years “serving and protecting the people and resources of Washington.”
He says as a state representative, he would push for “development and deployment of renewable energy systems – solar, wind, tidal – technology that will grow jobs, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels.”
Both Hayes and Riggs say they take their Christian faith seriously. In fact, both men and their families have attended the same church – Camano Lutheran.