by Christina Russell
A primary reason for apathy among voters is that they aren’t informed about the candidates running and what issues they represent. Don’t catch yourself turning a blind eye to your civic duty on the basis that you aren’t in the know. Here is your opportunity to brush up on the politicians competing for positions in the 16th legislative district. Who knows? Maybe you will slip some of these details into conversation with your parents next Saturday during Family Weekend, assuring them that college is more than extra-large waffles in the dining hall or avoiding zombies and is actually paying off.
District 16, Position 1
Maureen Walsh (R)
Maureen Walsh is the incumbent candidate looking to continue representing the 16th legislative district on the Republican ticket. Walsh is a small business owner from College Place. She has three children and a late husband. Walsh graduated from the University of Cincinnati, where she earned an Associate Degree in Commercial Art. Walsh was the legislative assistant to the former 16th district representative Dave Mastin. She held this position for 12 years. Other community involvement includes the Rotary, Walla Walla Chamber of Commerce and Walla Walla Downtown Foundation. Politically, Walsh prioritizes agriculture/water issues, the protection of senior or otherwise vulnerable citizens, the preservation of jobs and education. She hopes that the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) will be perceived as an agency that can be utilized by families and “not feared by them” (www.walshforstaterep.com).
George Fearing (D)
George Fearing is representing the Democratic ticket in a race against incumbent Maureen Walsh. He grew up in College Place and graduated from Walla Walla College with a Business degree before earning a law degree at the University of Washington. Fearing has been working and volunteering in the 16th district for 25 years. He is currently committed to his local church as a state committeeman for the Washington State Democratic Central Committee and as a trustee of the Interfaith Religious Liberty Foundation. If elected, Fearing is interested in expanding health care coverage, improving public education by offering competitive salaries to current and future educators, discouraging corrupt campaign politics by accepting contributions solely from individual contributors and protecting and supporting local farmers and small business owners. Fearing is looking to infuse fair and independent thinking in Washington politics, values he believes are absent in many of the current politicians (www.georgefearing.com).
District 16, Position 2
Bill Grant (D)
Bill Grant is running as the incumbent for position two in the 16th legislative district. He has served for 10 years as a Democrat for this district. His family has lived and farmed in the area since 1858, making him a fourth generation family farmer. Grant and his wife Nancy have four grown children. Grant was elected in 1986. Throughout his time as a representative Grant has advocated local farmers rights, small businesses and education. He also believes in bolstering community development and tourism and in supporting the local wine industry. His community involvement includes Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Washington Association of Wheat Growers, Walla Walla Rotary Club and Walla Walla Historical Auto Club. Grant is a former member of the Walla Walla Community College Board of Trustees (www.votebillgrant.com).
Kevin Young (R)
Kevin Young in running against Bill Grant as his Republican challenger. Young was born in the agricultural community of Dayton, Washington. He graduated from Dayton High School in 1982 before going to work on his family’s farm. He is married with three children. Young lives with them on a farm between Walla Walla and the Tri-Cities. He is involved as a Precinct Committee Officer for the Frenchtown Precinct and an active member of the Republican Party. Politically, he values morality and a strong work ethic. He believes in a small government in which there is more fiscal responsibility. He supports both small and large businesses and is experienced with business (www.votekevinyoung.com).