Local Republican Candidates Focus on Economy, Frustration With Democratic Leadership at Adna Forum Saturday


The Lewis County Republicans hosted a Republican candidate forum on Saturday where candidates shared with attendees their hopes for the future of Lewis County and reminded everyone to vote in the November general election.

About 75 to 100 citizens and candidates gathered in a field, bedecked with campaign signs and American flags, just off of state Route 6 on Bunker Creek Road in Adna. Smoke from the recent wildfires clouded the event and obscured the trees in the distance, which was often referenced by the speakers. The forum began at 11:30 a.m. and ended a little before 2 p.m. Each candidate or speaker on behalf of a candidate spoke for about five minutes.

The forum was moderated by the chair of the Lewis County Republicans Mark Anders, who is also a Port of Chehalis Commissioner and has volunteered with the Lewis County Sheriff’s Office working as a reserve deputy.

Write-in Republican candidate for lieutenant governor Joshua Freed was in attendance and said Washington needs to limit the power of the governor to 14 days in state of emergency situations. 

“This really is a grassroots effort. To let you know where I stand on a lot of the issues — I am pro-life, I’m pro-second amendment, I’m a born-again Christian,” said Freed. 

Democrats Denny Heck and Marko Liias are the two lieutenant governor candidates on the ballot.

State Representatives of the 19th District Jim Walsh R-Aberdeen and State Representative of the 20th district, Ed Orcutt R-Kalama were also in attendance and spoke about various topics including the wildfires currently affecting the state, the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Jay Inslee’s leadership and the call for attendees to vote Republican to protect their individual liberties. 

Walsh gave a speech, saying that there is a social contract between neighbors, which is to protect each other’s rights. 

“That social contract says I’ll protect my rights and I’ll help you protect your rights and reciprocally you help me protect mine. In that exchange, a great deal good comes for all of us,” said Walsh to the crowd. “That is what we need to return to — what we’ve forgotten in recent years, what’s created these riots, what’s created the lawlessness we see, what’s created this smoke that’s in the air right now — is turning away from the social contract.”

Incumbent Walsh led in the August primary with 58 percent of the vote over Democratic candidate Marianna Everson. 

“As you know our illustrious governor has said that we should call these wildfires ‘climate fires.’ I have a better name, we call them Inslee fires… These fires are a testament to the failure of a progressive policy in this state,” said Walsh. 

Orcutt told the crowd that the Republicans in Olympia are standing up for their second amendment rights, right to free speech and their pocketbook. 

Incumbent Orcutt led in the primary with 73 percent of the vote over Democrat Will Rollet. 

State Sen. John Braun R-Centralia who is running unopposed for reelection in the 20th District, spoke about the need to make the 19th district look more like the 20th — saying Republicans are being ignored in Olympia. 

“This is going to be a huge turnout year. Everybody believes this. It’s going to come down to the Republicans turning out more than the Democrats to vote,” said Braun to the crowd. 

Peter Abbarno, running for state House representative in the 20th district, was in attendance and spoke about protecting individual liberties, being educated on the issues and the candidates and providing citizens with opportunities for success.

“Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed and that’s you — the voters. Those powers are to maintain and protect individual rights. You don’t just elect individuals, you hire us to do a job,” Abbarno said to the forum attendees. 

Abbarno said that he was happy with the turnout and with ballots being mailed in about 30 days, he said his goal at the forum was to keep voters engaged and excited with the upcoming election.

Abbarno led with 47 percent of the vote in the primary election in August over Democrat Timothy Zahn.

Speakers were sent on behalf of Republican gubernatorial candidate Loren Culp, Lewis County Commissioner candidate Lindsey Pollock and Congressional candidate Jamie Herrera Butler.

Current Lewis County Commissioners Edna Fund and Bobby Jackson, both Republicans up for reelection, spoke to the crowd and provided reasons why they felt they’re the best candidate for the job.

Fund spoke about her connections within the community and her willingness to use those connections for the betterment of Lewis County. She also mentioned her farm background, work on managing flooding in the area and managing the county’s $100 million budget.

Jackson spoke about COVID relief funding that the county used to keep small businesses open and work toward reopening school as soon as possible. 

“Before I ask you for our support for my reelection campaign, I think it’s important that you know who I’m supporting. I am supporting Donald Trump for reelection as our president, I am supporting Loren Culp to replace Gov. (Jay) Inslee,” said Jackson to a cheering crowd. 

 Fund’s challenger in district 1, Sean Swope, gave a speech that recounted his abusive childhood in Texas and then the positive impact moving to Centralia and getting involved with the church had on his life.

“We are almost considered an impoverished county. Why is that? We’re along the I-5 corridor… What we’ve got to do is bring industry in,” said Swope.

County Commissioner candidate Lindsey Pollock held a 59 percent lead over Jackson in the District 2 primary election. In district 1, Swope led Fund in the primary with 54 percent of the vote. 

State Representative candidate for the 19th District Jeff Wilson spoke about the smoke in the air and said that the forests were being mismanaged. Wilson also mentioned Senate Bill 5395, the comprehensive sex education bill, and his disapproval of it. 

“I know I’m not on the proper side of the road right now but you know what? Who cares?... We all share the same values,” said Wilson.

Wilson with 37 percent of the vote in the primary election trailed behind democratic candidate Dean Takko with 44 percent.

Joel McEntire, a Republican candidate running for State Representative in the 19th district, spoke about many topics including the economy, the wildfires, small businesses and the spotted owl. He ended his speech with a poem about weathering the storm. 

McEntire held a slim lead over democrat Brian Blake with 53 percent of the vote in the primary election. 

Candidates for Lewis County Public Utility District Commissioner candidates Micheal Kelly and incumbent Ben Kostick each spoke about their concerns for the future of the PUD and what they would like to see change.

Kelly spoke about working to keep rates low and Kostick spoke about the Clean Energy Transformation Act and maintaining local control.

In the primary election, Kostick led with 50 percent of the vote over Kelly’s 27 percent.