Last week, 10-year 4th District Rep. Lynn Schindler announced she wouldn’t seek another term in the Washington state House of Representatives.
A couple of days later, attorney and fellow Republican Matt Shea said he would be happy to take Schindler’s place.
Schindler, 63, said Monday it is time for she and her husband to start traveling and reconnecting with her 10 children and several grandchildren across the country.
“My husband and I have a lot of kids,” she said. “It’s time to take some time off.”
Schindler has always been one of the more active representatives from Eastern Washington, having strong opinions on topics ranging from Growth Management Act to health insurance. On the former, Schindler told the Spokane Valley News Herald in 2000, “I don’t think anybody’s against good, smart planning. It just comes down to smart planning.”
Transportation has been another area – she currently sits on the House Transportation Committee – which she has been passionate about. Finding smart, economical ways to fund local road projects has always been difficult in a Democratic-controlled Legislature.
“We need a continuous revenue stream for transportation. It’s imperative,” she said just before starting her second term. She repeated it before starting her fifth term.
“It’s been a good run,” she said, noting that she always was elected by a nearly 60 percent margin each time she ran for office for her district, which includes most of the Spokane Valley.
Schindler initially ran for office when then Rep. Mark Sterk decided to run for Spokane County sheriff. The entire time she worked with the two other 4th District mainstays, Rep. Larry Crouse (who has been in office for 14 years) and Sen. Bob McCaslin (who was first elected in 1980).
While admitting there will be some things she will “miss about Olympia,” she said she is glad to share any disagreements with her fellow legislators by “yelling at the TV.”
“I’m looking forward to the rest,” she said.
Shea, a 33-year-old attorney for Keith S. Douglass and Associates who lives in Mead, said he had been considering a bid for the Legislature for some time but decided to make his announcement after hearing of Schindler’s decision. Though a political newcomer, Shea said he has had plenty of leadership experience in the U.S. armed forces.
“I’ve had two tours overseas,” he said, adding he spent 10 years in the Army and served in Bosnia and Iraq and honorably discharged as a captain. “I have strong leadership skills.”
Shea was both a cavalry and infantry officer. In Iraq, he served as headquarters company commander for the 1-161st Infantry Battalion. He has received the Bronze star, a Meritorious Service Medal and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.
A Spokane County native, Shea received his degree from Gonzaga University and the Gonzaga School of Law.
Shea said he has strong conservative ideals that match those of the constituency of Eastern Washington. He would seek to limit spending and taxes, he added. He also wants to work on property tax relief and – like Schindler -- relieving traffic congestion.
“We’ve been promised money for the north-south freeway for 10, 20 years,” he said. “It’s time to stop the excuses and get it built.”
Although filing for office won’t happen until this spring, Shea said he would like to begin doorbelling and introducing himself to voters as soon as possible.
But he also wanted to thank Schindler for her service.
“(She) has served us well for the past 10 years,” he said. “As she passes the torch to another generation, I believe I can provide strong and tested leadership for the citizens of the 4th Legislative District.”
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