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Peterson seeks state rep job
11/26/2013 2:08:44 PM

By Josh Johnson
Splash Staff Writer

Liberty Lake Mayor Steve Peterson is seeking to concurrently become State Rep. Steve Peterson, R-Liberty Lake. 

The mayor is one of six Republicans who have put their name forward to be considered as a replacement for longtime 4th District State Rep. Larry Crouse, R-Spokane Valley, who is retiring with one year left on his term for health reasons. 

Peterson said that if he's chosen, he would have no trouble meeting the obligations of both elected roles, recalling the example of the last state Sen. Bob McCaslin, who also served on the Spokane Valley City Council toward the end of his time in the Senate. 

"The mayor's job is a part-time job; the Legislature is a part-time job - meld them together to some extent," he said. 

Peterson added that during his first term as mayor, he worked a full-time job in pharmaceutical sales at the same time. 

"Now I'm basically retired," he said. "I love my job as mayor, and I'm not going to leave my job as mayor." 

By state law, the process for filling the remainder of Crouse's term falls first to his party's precinct committee officers in the 4th District. Those officers are scheduled to meet Dec. 7 to vote and narrow the field of six candidates down to three finalists. Those finalists will then interview before the Spokane County Board of Commissioners, who will select one to serve until they can face election in November 2014. 

The six candidates who have expressed interest include Peterson, former Spokane Valley Mayor Diana Wilhite, outgoing Spokane Valley Mayor Tom Towey, Spokane Valley Planning Commissioner and public school teacher Bob McCaslin Jr. (the aforementioned senator's son), Spokane County Jail Medical Director Cris Kennedy and Leonard Christian, a Realtor and retired United States Air Force master sergeant. 

Peterson was part of a forum Nov. 18 featuring the candidates; a second will be held Dec. 2 (see breakout box). Peterson said his views distinguished from his opponents at the initial meeting in part because of his focus on the state's transportation plan - and particularly Peterson's support of a gas tax to fund it. 

"This is something you can control at the pump," he said. "… We've got to be a part of the solution (to funding transportation projects). You don't just stick your head in the sand and say, ‘That tax is bad.' No matter what tax comes out, it will probably go to a vote of the people. No one likes taxes, but everybody likes good roads." 

What: Candidates forum for those seeking to replace retiring State Rep. Larry Crouse
When: 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2
Where: Spokane Events and Catering Center, 10514 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley
For more: 879-4614