Rep. Hayes facing off against Paul for state House seat
Incumbent state Rep. Dave Hayes, R-Camano Island, is facing Democrat Dave Paul for a state House position in Legislative District 10.
The district includes Island County, southwest Skagit County and northwest Snohomish County. The state House seat has a two-year term.
Hayes was first elected to the position in 2013 to replace now state Sen. Barbara Bailey.
He said he wants to stay in office to continue working on issues including behavioral health, transportation infrastructure and education funding.
Hayes said he believes behavioral health — particularly in the context of addiction — is the most pressing issue and that as a Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office patrol sergeant, he is uniquely positioned to understand it.
“I think being a law enforcement officer and seeing life experiences of others helps me be a better servant and have context behind decisions I make for the application of public policy,” Hayes said. “I enjoy some very good influence on public safety issues in the House and the Senate because I can speak to these.”
Oak Harbor’s Paul, a first-time candidate, said he believes he could do a better job representing the values of the district and giving a voice to its diverse residents.
“Folks that are moderate or progressive feel left out ... and our three state representatives are very conservative,” he said. “Especially in Skagit Valley and Whidbey Island, I feel like they are not heard by my opponent.”
If elected, Paul said he would work to address opioid and behavioral health issues, increase the availability of affordable housing and protect the environment.
“Climate change is real and that is perhaps the biggest threat, the biggest issue of our time,” he said. “We need to take steps now to protect our quality of life.”
Paul said he takes issue with Hayes’ votes on policies involving gun rights and sexuality.
In February, Hayes voted against Senate Bill 5722, which banned conversion therapy on minors in the state.
The American Psychological Association defines conversion therapy as “counseling and psychotherapy to attempt to eliminate individuals’ sexual desires for members of their own sex.”
“It’s an effort to convince children that they are not gay,” Paul said. “It actually harms children, and I think both parents and members of the LGBTQ community find that abhorrent.”
Hayes said he voted against the bill in an effort to protect parents who may need resources if one of their children is gay or struggling with their sexual identity.
“What used to happen (in conversion therapy) was nothing short of torture and practices like that need to be illegal, I completed agree ... but one thing I don’t want to see is religious restrictions and issues for parents who are just reaching out for counsel to find out what options they have and what they can and can’t talk about,” he said.
When it comes to gun rights, Hayes voted against a bill that would have banned bump stocks. Paul said that vote surprised him because Hayes has a background in law enforcement.
Hayes said he isn’t opposed to banning bump stocks, but thinks the decision should be made at the federal level.