Norma Smith will not seek re-election to the state House

A 13-year veteran, the Clinton Republican wants to pursue her next calling of teaching and mentoring

Norma Smith

Norma Smith

OLYMPIA — Republican state Rep. Norma Smith of Clinton announced Wednesday she will not seek re-election this fall.

Smith delivered the news on the House floor, saying her 13-year legislative tenure “working on those things we care so deeply about … is an incredible way to serve.”

But, she said, “there is another calling in my life,” which is teaching and mentoring young people.

“We here can solve problems that touch many areas of people’s lives,” she said. “But here we can’t solve the deepest longings of the heart, the spiritual nature of who we are.”

Smith was appointed to Position 1 in the 10th Legislative District in January 2008 and elected to her first full-term that fall. She’s been re-elected five times. The district encompasses all of Island County, and parts of Snohomish and Skagit counties.

She is the ranking Republican on the Innovation, Technology and Economic Development Committee, and the assistant ranking Republican on the Capital Budget Committee. She also serves on the State Government and Tribal Relations Committee.

Prior to joining the Legislature, she served on the South Whidbey School Board and was special assistant to former U.S. Rep. Jack Metcalf.

“I am going to be sad to see her go. I truly admire her hard work, her compassion and her grace,” said Rep. Dave Paul, D-Oak Harbor, who holds Position 2 in the 10th District. “While we haven’t always agreed, I have really enjoyed working with her.”

What had been viewed as a competitive seat is now a wide-open race that should garner attention from both political parties.

Three Democrats — Scott McMullen of Mount Vernon, Ivan Lewis of Greenbank and Suzanne Woodard of Clinton — had already been campaigning to unseat Smith.

On Wednesday, Greg Gilday of Camano Island became the first Republican to enter the race. Gilday, an attorney and realtor, also announced he’s garnered the endorsement of former state representative, Dave Hayes.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; Twitter: @dospueblos

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