3 GOP challengers for Rep. Hans Dunshee in 44th District

Three Republicans are challenging Rep. Hans Dunshee on the primary election ballot.

Dunshee, D-Snohomish, has served 18 years in the Legislature. Those looking to take the 44th Legislative District, Pos. 1, seat away from him are Bob McCaughan, a Snohomish man who ran for the seat in 2010 and lost in the general election, Mill Creek councilman Mark Harmsworth, and political newcomer and Marysville resident, B.J. Guillot.

The primary election is Aug. 7. The top two vote-getters advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation.

Dunshee, who is chairman of the House Capital Budget Committee, said he is running for a 10th term because there is more he can do, including continuing work toward building a Washington State University presence in Everett. He supported a bill signed in May 2011 by Gov. Chris Gregoire to bring the school to the city.

“I just could not step back,” he said. “We just started on the WSU project. We planted the seed and now we have to nurture and let it grow, and I want to be there for that. … It could die out if we don’t work at it and we don’t work at it hard.”

Dunshee, 58, said he has spent the past two legislative sessions working on trying to increase job growth. He worked earlier this year to pass the 2012 Jobs Now package, a plan to create almost 20,000 construction-related jobs, that received bipartisan support.

“There’s a lot of angst out there,” Dunshee said. “People are worried. The No. 1 thing we have to work on is jobs and they have to be local jobs.”

McCaughan, 64, said he hasn’t stopped introducing himself and talking with voters in the district since the 2010 election and was motivated to run again after losing the race by a 4 percentage point margin. He also believes jobs are a top concern.

“I believe there are things we could do with the state budget, and the priority really is in this case is jobs,” he said. “I would like to see more openness in government and I believe that helps business.”

McCaughan added that he believes in hard timelines for building permits and streamlining the state business and occupation tax. He supports working toward a “word-class educational system” through school cooperatives and then charter schools.

“Initially we should start with the co-op concept where you work within the framework of the normal school system,” he said. “I believe that if everybody saw that things were working they would be more open to more innovation.”

Harmsworth, 42, is in his second term on the Mill Creek City Council. Being a councilman has given him a sense of what’s important in local communities, Harmsworth said. He feels change is needed in state government.

“I don’t think he represents our district anymore,” Harmsworth said. “I think his priorities aren’t the ones we want to see in our communities. I think we spend a lot of money as well.”

Harmsworth added that if he becomes a state legislator he would like to focus on prioritizing public safety and schools and building small businesses to save jobs.

“I’m doing a lot of door belling, meeting folks and hearing what’s important to people,” he said. “Thankfully I’ve picked the right things. People are concerned about the quality of schools and making sure they’re funded properly and people are concerned about where the economy is going.”

Guillot, 37, started thinking about putting his name on the primary ballot months ago after then Republican presidential primary candidate, Newt Gingrich, was criticized for supporting a U.S. moon base.

“It hit me that we have to have candidates in elections in various different parties, different players running for different roles that are supportive of science and technology,” he said.

Guillot added that he wants to see commercial flights from Paine Field. He believes in making sure students are taught higher levels of math and science before graduation. He also wants to bring more companies with a focus on space exploration to the state.

“There are a lot of companies in the greater Seattle area that have spun up recently that are heavily interested in space,” he said. “I want to try to see what I can do to incentivize companies like that to keep coming here.”

Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; adaybert@heraldnet.com.

What’s the job?

44th Legislative District, State Representative Position 1

The job is a two-year term as a state representative in the 44th Legislative District. The area covers the cities of Lake Stevens, Mill Creek, Snohomish and parts of Everett and Marysville. The annual salary is $42,106.

Meet the candidates

Hans Dunshee

Residence: Snohomish

Age: 58

Party: Democrat

Experience: He has served as a state representative for the past 18 years and is chairman of the House Capital Budget Committee.

Website: www.hansdunshee.com.

B.J. Guillot

Residence: Marysville

Age: 37

Party: Republican

Experience: He has been the vice president of a company specializing in electronic patient care reporting and ambulance medical billing solutions and services for the past seven years.

Website: www.vote4bj.com

Mark Harmsworth

Residence: Mill Creek

Age: 42

Party: Republican

Experience: He was first elected in 2007 to Mill Creek City Council, Position 5. He works as a principal service engineer for Microsoft Corp.

Website: www.markharmsworth.com

Bob McCaughan

Residence: Snohomish

Age: 64

Party: Republican

Experience: He served in public government for more than 11 years, in Island County as the building official and as a building plans examiner for Snohomish County. He is a licensed architect. An Eagle Scout, he is also Scoutmaster of Troop 288 in Snohomish.

Website: www.votebob44th.org

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