Conservative Washington State Representative Making Inroads Within Democratic State Legislature

jesse-youngMost people now think of Washington state as a bastion for Democrats, especially the Puget Sound area around Seattle. But there are a few bright conservatives who have figured out how to make some ground. Rep. Jesse Young represents the southwestern side of the Sound; including parts of Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Bremerton and Port Orchard. The area had been a traditional Democratic stronghold, so it it was a bit of a surprise to see this principled conservative take the seat two years ago. The 40-year-old father of five was unanimously appointed by Democrat and Republican officials to fill the position when it was left vacant in January 2014, then he beat the Democrat later that fall. Now Young is in a close race — less than one point apart — against liberal Democrat Larry Seaquist.

Young has an inspiring story. He grew up living homeless on the streets of Tacoma, yet overcame a tough life to graduate valedictorian of his high school class. He went into information technology and software engineering.

He ran on three promises and has kept all of them. First, he led the effort to successfully stop the toll increases on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Secondly, he got a balanced budget passed with no new tax increases. And finally, got the legislature to reduce college tuition costs and fund Teacher COLAs (Cost Of Living Adjustments).

Young is full of creative but practical ideas. One of his bills, the Toll by Coffee Act, would open up toll bridge management to private companies who could sell food and beverages — just coffee alone would be an immensely profitable venture in the Pacific Northwest. “We could turn a $6,000,000 a year hit into a $6,000,000 a year profit,” he told Key Peninsula News.

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