Republican party officials have chosen three nominees to replace former state Rep. Graham Hunt, who resigned this month after questions arose about his military record.
At a meeting Saturday in Roy, Republican precinct committee officers named Amy Cruver of Eatonville, Andrew Barkis of Olympia and Kerry Hooks-French of Frederickson as their top choices to fill the vacancy in the 2nd Legislative District.
The three nominees will be forwarded to the Pierce County Council and the Thurston County Board of Commissioners, which together will make a final decision. The council members and commissioners will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday to choose Hunt’s replacement from among the three candidates.
Cruver, 59, has worked for Pierce County Council member Jim McCune for 10 years, both during his time in the Legislature and during his term as a County Council member. She is a member of the Pierce County Charter Review Commission who says she has both the experience and the support to hold the legislative seat for Republicans.
Whoever is chosen will serve through November; at that point, he or she must win election to a new full two-year term.
Speaking to party members Saturday, Cruver held up a copy of both the Bible and the Constitution, along with several other books, noting that they help guide her actions.
Barkis, 47, is a majority owner and broker with Hometown Property Management in Olympia. He ran unsuccessfully for Thurston County Commissioner in 2012. But he said the race helped him build support.
“I am a team player and consensus builder,” he told The News Tribune. Addressing party officials Saturday, he said that he would represent conservative principles of “hard work, less government and our rights.”
Hooks-French, 48, works for the state Military Department. She helped lead the committee that worked to allow Pierce County voters to decide the fate of a proposed county general services building — a project voters turned down in November. She is a member of the Frederickson-Clover Creek Community Council and the Frederickson Land Use and Advisory Commission. She is active in Act for America, which focuses on human rights and national defense.
“I have a track record of working with different coalitions,” she said.
Hunt, a Republican from Orting who served in the House for about two years, resigned earlier this month following allegations that he exaggerated parts of his military record. He attended Saturday’s meeting as a precinct committee officer and said he could support any of the three nominees. He said officials “put forward who they believe are the best candidates.”
The Seattle Times reported last month that military records didn’t back up Hunt’s claims of being a “combat veteran” of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Others who knew Hunt said the lawmaker also lied about being in the Marines, as well as being wounded in combat.
The Second Legislative District encompasses parts of both Pierce and Thurston counties, including the communities of Yelm, Orting, Roy, McKenna, Graham and Eatonville.
FINAL DECISION TO COME TUESDAY
What: Joint meeting of the Pierce County Council and the Thurston County Board of Commissioners.
Purpose: Choosing who will fill a vacant state House seat in the 2nd Legislative District.
When: 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16.
Where: Council Chambers at the city of DuPont, 1700 Civic Drive, DuPont, WA.