Herrera claims Third District seat

Initiative-1098 goes down to defeat

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The person who will soon become the new Third Congressional District Representative in Congress is a Camas resident.

Republican Jaime Herrera was elected to the position by 53 percent of voters on Nov. 2. She defeated Denny Heck, a business owner and former state legislator for the 17th District. Heck conceded the race the evening of the election.

“The most powerful words of a democracy are ‘the people have spoken,'” Herrera said in a statement. “Tonight the people of Southwest Washington have spoken and said that they want me to represent them, their families and communities in the Congress of the United States.”

Herrera was appointed to the position of 18th District State Representative and began serving during the 2008 legislative session. She was elected to the seat for a two-year term that year.

She grew up in Ridgefield and attended Prairie High School and the University of Washington, but now lives in Camas with her husband Dan Beutler.

Herrera, 31, sees her upcoming term in office as an opportunity to create change.

“I made one central promise in this campaign,” she said. “I promised that I will work to change the direction of the federal government and stop the out-of-control spending and growth of the government, and that is exactly what I intend to do.”

In other candidate races, Steve Stuart beat out Alan Svehaug for the Clark County Commissioner seat with 51 percent of the vote; with more than 60 percent of the votes Ann Rivers ran away with the State Representative 18th District seat against Dennis Kampe; and Bruce Chandler and David Taylor both soundly won re-election to their seats as State Representatives in the 15th District.

Voters made another significant statement when they rejected by nearly 65 percent Initiative-1098, which would have instituted a state income tax for individuals making more than $200,000 annually and couples making more than $400,000 per year.

“Washingtonians do not want a state income tax,” said Scott Stanzel, Defeat 1098 campaign manager. “Citizens determined I-1098 was simply the first step toward establishing an income tax on all Washingtonians.”

Just before the election, Ken Fisher, chief executive officer and chairman of Fisher Investments, indicated he would not move his corporate headquarters to Washington or build another building in Camas if the initiative came within 5 percentage points of passing.

The first of two six-story Fisher Investments buildings that could house up to 300 employees is currently under construction in the Bybee Curves area of Camas. A ground breaking ceremony was held in October.

According to opponents of I-1098, many business owners had similar reservations about the impacts of the initiative, if passed.

“We may never know how many employers chose not to hire additional workers or even move operations to our state because of the uncertainty this income tax proposal placed on their ability to plan,” said Steve Mullin, president of the Washington Roundtable. “With the strong signal set tonight, it is time for our state’s leaders to pull together, restructure state government and take the steps necessary to rebuild our economy.”

The liquor initiatives — I-1100 and I-1105 — were also defeated. If approved they would have authorized the closure of state liquor stores and sales of hard liquor by private business.

Some state initiatives did obtain enough votes to pass. Among them were I-1107, which rolls back taxes on candy, bottled water and carbonated beverages. It passed by a convincing margin of 61 percent.

According to the state Department of Revenue, the passage of this initiative means that the taxes on those items will expire on Dec. 2, 2010.

The estimated fiscal impact of the rollbacks is approximately $54.8 million for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, and $217.6 million for the 2011-2013 biennium.

According to DOR, the initiative did not provide for any refunds for taxes paid prior to Dec. 2.