Tribal official will challenge Barlean
July 3, 2008 · Updated 12:43 PM
"Democrat John McCoy, the governmental affairs director for the Tulalip Tribes, will take on first-term Republican Kelly Barlean for a 10th District seat in the state House.McCoy plans to make a formal announcement of his candidacy Thursday before a group of tribal elders at the the Tulalip Tribal Center near Marysville. This will be his first run for public office.I think it's fitting that I announce my campaign to our elders. They have instilled their values in me. I intend to carry on their high standards, McCoy said in a news release.McCoy is no stranger to the political arena, his campaign manager Shelly McDonald said Tuesday. She said McCoy often travels to Washington D.C. to lobby on behalf of the tribe. He has also been a prominent tribal spokesman on issues such as the tribe's Marysville casino and a proposed business park on Tulalip land.But McCoy said many of the issues he has worked on in his position with the tribe - growth, environmental protection, transportation and education - are also issues districtwide.The tribe and the district have a lot in common, he said. We're all concerned about development and infrastructure, about maintaining a way of life that is unique to the Pacific Northwest while also acknowledging that our region is growing.Barlean, a Langley resident and attorney, announced in late June that he wants to keep the 10th District, Position 2 seat in the House that he has held for the last two years. In 1998, Barlean narrowly won election over retired Skagit County teacher Alec McDougall, with only about 300 votes separating the pair. In his first term Barlean became the only freshman Republican appointed to the House Appropriations Committee and later became its vice-chairman.Barlean said he has worked with McCoy several times on tribal issues and even has McCoy's number programmed into his phone.I've had a good relationship with John. I was taken aback when I found he was running against me, said Barlean Tuesday. But I'm not naive. I'm sure the Democrats want to illiminate the 50-50 split in the House as much as Republicans.During the last two years, the two parties have had an equal number of representatives in the state House, giving neither a controlling majority.Barlean said he's concerned that tribal money from outside the district will likely help support McCoy's candidacy. That, he said, could make it more expensive to run the race.McCoy served in the U.S. Air Force and worked for the Unisys company in computer services prior to his work with the Tulalip tribes. He and his wife Jeannie have lived on the Tulalip Reservation since 1994.The 10th Legislative District includes all of Island County as well as parts of Skagit and Snohomish counties."