Rep. Eslick faces Halvorson for District 39 House seat
Eric Halvorson of Monroe is challenging Rep. Carolyn Eslick of Sultan for her state House seat representing Legislative District 39.
The district includes eastern Skagit and Snohomish counties and northeast King County. The state House position is a two-year term.
Eslick has held the seat for about a year after being selected to replace John Koster, who left to take a job with a state agency.
Before that, Eslick served as mayor of Sultan since 2008.
The 68-year-old Eslick is a Republican who said she brings to the table a willingness to collaborate with other legislators, and a passion for serving state residents and solving problems.
She said the biggest issue in the district is the need to address behavioral health, while the biggest issue for Skagit County is the growing elk herd that has caused property damage and raised concerns about driver safety.
Halvorson, a 47-year-old Democrat, said the biggest issues are funding education and transportation improvements.
He said he believes his experience as an accountant makes him qualified for the position, and he would bring expertise in identifying unnecessary spending and weighing financial priorities.
Eslick, on the other hand, said her experience as an elected official and business owner gives her an advantage in navigating state government.
She said she’s proud to have gotten a bill passed in her first year in the Legislature. The bill regarded requirements for the state Department of Fish & Wildlife to notify counties when the agency proposes relocating wildlife into their jurisdictions.
In addition to differences in experience and priorities, Eslick and Halvorson have opposing views on an issue of government transparency that came before the Legislature earlier this year.
Halvorson raised issue with Eslick’s vote in support of Senate Bill 6617, which would have exempted from public disclosure communications between lawmakers and constituents by restricting access to legislators’ emails based on the idea that constituents’ privacy could be infringed upon.
“We do work for the people and anything that we would do is the people’s business,” Halvorson said. “If I don’t want my text messages or email correspondence to be read in front of constituents, don’t write it.”
Eslick was one of many legislators who supported the bill that raised red flags with news organizations and community members. She said she supported the concept in the bill in order to ensure some privacy for constituents reaching out to state officials.
“My concerns are if there is anything that could be sensitive about our constituents ... we have to be able to protect our constituents or they will not be communicating with us,” she said. “We handle sensitive, personal issues with constituents — mental health, for example. A mom might not want the world to know that her son is bipolar or schizophrenic.”