By Pat Jenkins
An incumbent Republican, a Libertarian Party member and a candidate whose political affiliation is identified with marijuana are the choices for voters in the contest for state representative in the Second Legislative District in the primary election.
In voting that will end Aug. 5, Rep. J.T. Wilcox, who has risen to a Republican leadership position in his four years in office, is seeking a third two-year term. Hoping to unseat him are Steven Nielson, an Orting resident who is running as a Libertarian, and Rick Payne, who lives in Graham and self-professed member of the Marijuana Party. The top two finishers will advance to the general election in November.
Already headed for a November showdown are the lone two candidates for the Second District’s other position in the House of Representatives. Graham Hunt, a Republican who was appointed to the post earlier this year, will face Democrat Greg Hartman.
Nielson has been active within the Republican Party at the precinct committee level, but is running under the Libertarian banner in support of limited taxes, private property rights and local government, which he calls essential elements for “economic freedom.”
Payne, a former candidate for Bethel School Board, said he is running for the Legislature because he is dissatisfied with the state’s progress in starting the retail marijuana industry that voters statewide approved in 2012. He lists his occupation as a marijuana grower, and he said it’s an enterprise that will help provide tax revenue and employment opportunities.
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