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WW Man to Run for Mastin"s Job

by Andy Porter, Union-Bulletin staff
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, February 3, 2004

State Rep. Dave Mastin has not announced whether he will run for a seventh term.

Democrat Tom Schmerer, a Walla Walla resident, has declared his candidacy for the District 16 state legislative seat now held by Rep. Dave Mastin.

"The time is right, and I'm in a position personally and professionally where I can pursue this," the 31-year-old Schmerer said Monday.

Mastin, a Republican also from Walla Walla, was elected to a sixth term in 2002. Mastin has not announced whether he will run again, and he was not available for comment this morning.

If elected, Schmerer, the manager at the local Made in Walla Walla store, said he intends to focus his attention on improving the state's schools, its business environment and employee health and safety.

Education and business prosperity go hand-in-hand, Schmerer said. "If you have a well-educated population, businesses will come," he said.

Building a better climate for business and bolstering the ability for employers to offer health care to workers is equally important, Schmerer said.

"If you don't have a healthy work force, you don't have health businesses," he remarked.

Locally, Schmerer said he would work to improve transportation facilities leading to and from the Walla Walla Valley. Specifically, this would include the widening of U.S. Highway 12 and repair or replacement of the railroad system that helps convey much of the wheat and other goods in the county.

Schmerer also said he would support preservation of the lower Snake River Dams.

"Things should continue the way they are," he said. "It cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to build those dams. It would be stupid to take them out."

Although he will be running on the Democratic ticket, Schmerer said he considers himself an independent.

"I don't want to be beholden to anyone," he said.

Andy Porter, Union-Bulletin staff
WW Man to Run for Mastin"s Job
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin, February 3, 2004

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