PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Over a year after conceding in the primary election as a Washington congresswoman, Jaime Herrera Beutler has declared her candidacy as the state’s next public lands commissioner.
Herrera Beutler launched her campaign on Tuesday morning. According to the former Republican representative, the announcement comes after ‘decades of undermanagement and neglect’ for public forests in Washington.
“Fires now run rampant every summer,” Herrera Beutler said in a statement. “They ruin our days with smoke, emit carbon, make home insurance unavailable and housing even more unaffordable. And for those unfortunate enough to live in the path of one of those fires, they can cause unimaginable heartache.”
In the 2022 primary race to represent Washington’s third congressional district, Herrera Beutler conceded to GOP challenger Joe Kent — ending her six-term streak in the position.
Washington’s current public lands commissioner, Hilary Franz, announced her run for governor back in May. Now that Franz has her eyes set on a new position, Herrera Beutler is just one of seven candidates vying for the role.
Mona Das, Patrick DePoe, Sue Kuehl Pederson, Rebecca Saldana, Dave Upthegrove and Kevin Van De Wege have all declared their candidacy for public lands commissioner, according to Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission.
But Herrera Beutler says she fought for Washington’s natural resources in her role as a state representative, and she would continue to do so in her next role.
“We’re raising our family in the path of the Yacolt Burn, which stood for over a century as the largest forest fire in Washington state history,” Herrera Beutler added. “In just the past decade, that terrible record has already been surpassed three times. I won’t leave my kids a legacy of burning forests and choking smoke.”
The congressional primary election is slated for Aug. 6, 2024. The general election will be on Nov. 5 of that year.