Field grows to three for Pike’s seat in the Washington State Legislature

Ken Vance, Editor
Ken Vance, Editor

The field in the race to fill Rep. Liz Pike’s seat in the Washington State Legislature has grown to three candidates as Republican Larry Hoff and Democrat Kathy Gillespie have joined Republican John Ley in the battle for 18th District, Position 2.

Pike announced in August that she will not seek re-election to her position in the Washington State House of Representatives. Ley, a Camas resident, also made his announcement in August that he would seek election to Pike’s position.

Earlier this month, both Hoff and Gillespie announced they would join Ley in the battle in the 18th District. previously published Ley’s announcement, which can be found here:

Here’s a look at candidates Gillespie and Hoff:

Kathy Gillespie

Kathy Gillespie
Kathy Gillespie

Gillespie is a two-time school board director with Vancouver Public Schools.

“Today we all are on the losing end of Olympia’s divisive, hyper-partisan squabbles,’’ said Gillespie in her announcement, published on her Facebook page, Democrat Kathy Gillespie for 18th District. “We see dysfunctional government and accept the disappointing result – our tax dollars wasted. The damage done by those who obstruct and divide has dimmed our faith in government, hurt our communities and eroded our trust.”

Gillespie is an award-winning retired newspaper editor and reporter whose career included posts in Colorado, Arizona, California and Oregon. She has lived in Southwest Washington since 1991. She has spent the last eight years serving Vancouver Public Schools and her two children are graduates of the Vancouver School of Arts and Academics and now enrolled in state universities.

“It has been a privilege to spend the last eight years working to improve our schools and ensure tax dollars are invested wisely. Now I’m running for State House to restore limited, efficient, and effective government that respects our priorities and doesn’t waste money,” Gillespie said. “I’m running to shake-up the status quo and help re-imagine our future. I have always answered to taxpayers.  I show up.  I don’t dodge and I don’t avoid. I return emails and phone calls. I listen to all sides, work well with others, and deliver results.”

In addition to her service on the school board, Gillespie has served as a Lunch Buddy, reading tutor and as a high school mentor to young women at Fort Vancouver High School. She has served in leadership roles through Parent Teacher Associations at multiple schools and been recognized for outstanding service to her community. Kathy and her family have raised three dogs for Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), a nonprofit organization that provides assistance dogs free of charge to recipients.

Gillespie was born in Ohio and raised in Arizona. She attended Colorado State University on a swimming scholarship and graduated in 1985 with a degree in political science.

Larry Hoff

Larry Hoff
Larry Hoff

Hoff is a retired businessman, community leader and veteran who has lived in the 18th District for over 40 years. That is where he and his wife, Renee, raised their son Tracy.

According to a press release announcing his candidacy, Hoff grew up in a small North Dakota town “where he learned valuable life lessons while working on neighboring farms.’’ Hoff served in the U.S. Navy and after serving he obtained a degree in accounting from the University of North Dakota.

Shortly thereafter, Hoff moved to Clark County where he joined the credit union industry and attained the position of interim president at Columbia Credit Union. He continued to dedicate his career to growing the financial health of the community, recently retiring as president/CEO of the $1 billion Fibre Federal Credit Union, after guiding the credit union through 15 years of solid growth and expanded service offerings. Recently, he was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award from his industry peers on behalf of the Northwest Credit Union Association.

In the early 1990s, Hoff became involved with and helped to further develop “Credit Unions for Kids,’’ a charity that has since raised more than $160 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals nationwide.

Hoff also served on the board of directors at the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Foundation and co-founded a number of charity events that, together with numerous other efforts, brought in over $8 million for the children at Doernbecher. His other service roles include St. Paul Lutheran Church (past president), Vancouver Dawn Lions, Fort Vancouver Lions and Longview Noon Rotary.

“I’ve been serving individuals and small businesses all of my professional career and am excited to bring my leadership, problem solving skills and collaborative nature to the legislature in order to continue serving and making  a positive impact on our community,’’ Hoff said.

According to his press release, “Larry hopes to represent the 18th District by putting his over 40 years of experience in business and philanthropy work for the district, while taking a conservative dollars-and-sense mindset back to Olympia.

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