Pasco’s mayor pro tem and the president of the Prosser School Board are facing off for an open state House seat representing the 16th Legislative District.
Rebecca Francik, who’s spent 19 years on the Pasco City Council and is mayor pro tem, is vying for the seat against William “Bill” Jenkin, who’s in his third year on the Prosser School Board and his second as the board’s president.
Rep. Maureen Walsh held the Position 1 seat but is giving it up to run for the state Senate. The 16th District covers Walla Walla and Columbia counties and parts of Benton and Franklin counties.
Five people, including Francik and Jenkin, threw their hats in the ring for the House job, with three eliminated in the August primary.
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Francik led the field in the primary, with 5,933 votes, or about 29 percent.
Jenkin was next with 4,422 votes, or 21 percent.
When government is running well, it benefits everyone in the community. I want our systems to work well, and I have the knowledge to craft legislation to ensure that they are.
Francik, 60, a Pasco Democrat, grew up on a family farm in Pullman and earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Washington State University.
She later earned master’s degrees in teaching and in library and information science, and works as a Nationally Board Certified teacher and librarian at Rowena Chess Elementary School in Pasco.
Francik joined the Pasco City Council in 1996, and she’s worked statewide on infrastructure issues as a member of the state Public Works Trust Fund and Freight Mobility Strategic Investment boards.
Her experience in the important areas of agriculture, education and government is key, she said.
“When government is running well, it benefits everyone in the community. I want our systems to work well, and I have the knowledge to craft legislation to ensure that they are,” she said.
Her top priorities as a legislator include fully funding the public education system, maintaining and improving the state’s primary infrastructure and enhancing human services, including mental health service programs, she said.
Francik described herself as a moderate and noted that her election would give people in the district a voice in the House’s majority caucus.
“With the national election going on, people have been soured (on politics),” she said. But “government can be a good thing in your life if you elect the right people.”
I felt it’s time to stretch the wings and try to be effective throughout the (legislative) district.
William “Bill” Jenkin
Jenkin, 60, a Prosser Republican, joined the Prosser School Board in 2013 and became president the following year.
He has a financial investment firm, a winery and a tasting room, and he also owns several commercial properties in Prosser.
His experience as a business owner, in the agriculture industry and in the education system mean he has the right skills and knowledge, he said.
“I will do the best job for the district as possible. I’m looking forward to the challenge,” he said.
Jenkin’s goals in the Legislature include doing more to support small business, such as reducing the business and occupation tax; working toward adequate education funding and restoring more parental and student choice in education; and doing more to help the agriculture industry locally and globally.
Along with his finance, business and education experience, Jenkin — who holds a bachelor’s degree in business management — has been involved in Rotary, the Prosser Chamber of Commerce, the Prosser Economic Development Association and People for People, among other groups.
He’s done a lot in Prosser, and “I felt it’s time to stretch the wings and try to be effective throughout the (legislative) district,” Jenkin said.
The Position 1 term is two years.
Ballots must returned or postmarked by Nov. 8.