State Rep. Chris Hurst, D-Enumclaw, announced Wednesday that he won’t seek re-election in November.
Hurst, 61, is one of the House’s most conservative Democrats. He represents the rural and Republican-leaning 31st Legislative District, which includes Auburn, Edgewood, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Bonney Lake, Enumclaw, Buckley, South Prairie, Wilkeson and Carbonado.
Hurst said Wednesday that he was looking forward to being able to spend more time with his family after his wife had a health scare last year. He said he wants to move on to “new pursuits,” such as possibly opening a bed and breakfast in the next few years.
“Sometimes you just need to catch your breath, and politics isn’t the place where you can catch your breath,” Hurst said. “You’re either in a long (legislative) session or campaigning.”
Hurst said he also doesn’t think members of the Legislature should stay in office as long as members of Congress, which he said leads to representatives who “become more focused on safeguarding their seat rather than working towards the best public policy.”
Hurst served two terms in the Legislature from 1999 to 2002, and has served in the House since 2007. He said he will finish his term, which lasts through the end of the year.
Hurst, a former police detective, often sides with the GOP on both social and tax issues, and has worked with moderate Democrats in a group that some of its members call the “Roadkill Caucus” for its middle-of-the-road views. In recent years, Hurst has chaired the committee that oversees regulation of marijuana, liquor and gambling.
Two candidates already have filed to run for Hurst’s seat.
Phil Fortunato, a former state lawmaker from Auburn who challenged Hurst two years ago and lost, is running again as an independent Republican.
Republican Pablo Monroy of Bonney Lake also is vying to replace the longtime lawmaker. Monroy runs the Odd Otter Brewing Company in downtown Tacoma.