The 27th Legislative District race for the Position 1 House seat, pitting incumbent Democrat Laurie Jinkins against Republican Steven T. Cook, is quieter than Jake Fey and Lauren Walker's campaigns for the district's Position 2 House seat.
Jinkins overmatched Cook in the primary, taking 74 percent of the vote to Cook’s 26 percent. Still, Cook – who has raised virtually no money compared with Jinkins’ $80,000 – believes he can turn the tables come November.
“I think it’s a toss-up,” he said.
Cook, 62, works as a mortgage loan officer and a Lutheran pastor. He cited his background as a small business owner and 12 years as councilman for the Eastern Washington town of George as experience for the job.
He advocates reducing regulatory red-tape for small businesses as a way to spur job growth. He also criticizes Jinkins and other lawmakers for wasting time on frivolous legislation, such as the bill to legalize same-sex marriage, at the expense of important budget work.
“That’s one of the problems they have – they’re always busy trying to get their pet projects done,” he said. “There was no reason why they needed to go into special session.”
Cook backs education reforms to give local school principals more budget and curriculum authority, and he supports re-prioritizing what he described as wasteful spending of Washington’s transportation budget.
“We aren’t being represented well,” Cook added. “That’s why I’m running.”
Jinkins, 48, a North End resident, is an attorney and former deputy director for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. Since winning election in 2010, she has moved into a new role as the health department’s director of organizational initiatives.
She cited as accomplishments in her first term working as vice chair of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee to help prepare Washington for coming changes under the federal Affordable Care Act, and co-sponsoring the 2012 jobs bill as a member of the Capital Budget Committee.
Jinkins noted the jobs bill – which invested about $1 billion in construction projects statewide to help create what supporters say will be 18,000 jobs – funded Tacoma Community College’s Harned Center for Health Careers.
“It’s not only creating jobs right now, it’s also building a place that will create jobs for the future,” she said.
If re-elected, Jinkins said she plans to focus on health care access and continue advocating for extending state Route 167, a project that remains unfunded. “That’s our highest priority,” she said.
Jinkins also is active in supporting rights for same-sex couples, working this campaign season as a statewide strategist for the Approve R-74 campaign.
CANDIDATES FOR THE 27TH LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT HOUSE
Occupation: State representative; Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, director of organizational initiatives.
Education: bachelor’s in management/marketing and master’s in business/health care administration, University of Wisconsin; law degree, Seattle University (UPS) Law School.
Civic experience includes: Chair, Tacoma Community College Trustees; chair, Tacoma Charter Review Committee; Greater Tacoma Community Foundation Board; chair, Tacoma Community House Board
Total raised, spent: $80,332, $56,517.
Top donors include: SEIU 1199 NW, $1,800; WA Optometric PAC, $1,800; Delta Dental WA Dental Service, $1,600; Molina Healthcare Inc., $1,600; Pfizer Inc., $1,600.
STEVEN T. COOK
Occupation: Mortgage loan officer, pastor.
Education: bachelor’s degree, Pacific Lutheran University, master’s degree, Concordia Theological Seminary.
Civic experience includes: George (Wa.) Town Council; chair, Quincy Ministerial Association.
Total raised, spent: $2,882, $702.
Top donors include: None on file.