Kennewick Republican Brad Klippert easily fended off a re-election challenge from Rick Jansons, president of the Richland School Board, to win a fifth term representing the 8th District in the state House.
With 54 percent of the estimated 87,000 ballots cast in Tuesday’s election, Klippert received 19,189 votes to Jansons’ 13,547 votes, or 59 percent to 41 percent.
“I’m very, very honored by all those people who put their trust in me,” Klippert said. He praised his opponent for stepping up and doing his civic duty for running for public office.
The district covers northern Benton County, including Kennewick, Richland and West Richland.
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Klippert is a Benton County sheriff’s deputy and a military veteran currently serving as commander of the Washington State Guard with the rank of colonel.
Jansons had hoped to bring his vast experience with education policy and budgets to Olympia, where the 2017 Legislature is expected to focus largely on complying with the Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling that Washington is failing its constitutional mandate to amply fund basic education.
Klippert vowed that the Legislature has to write a budget that meets the needs of all three branches of government. His solution to underfunding it to support economic growth that boosts productivity.
Klippert is a reliable Republican vote but has sometimes strayed into side issues. In 2016, he introduced bills to restrict the kinds of flags flown on state ferries after the state ferry system raised rainbow flags during Seattle Pride week.
Too, he ventured into the transgender bathroom access debate by sponsoring legislation to override a state rule requiring public buildings to allow transgender people to use the bathroom of their choice.
He also wants to form a task force to investigate replacing the states of Oregon and Washington with two new states divided north to south along the Cascades.