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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: 9th legislative district

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April 12, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Redistricting makes massive 9th LD even more rural, conservative

Rep. Joe Schmick (R) of the 9th LD poses on his family farm. When he's not in Olympia, he spends his days harvesting and managing a small business.

Rep. Joe Schmick (R) of the 9th LD poses on his family farm. When he's not in Olympia, he spends his days harvesting and managing a small business. (Photo courtesy of Rep. Joe Schmick)

It’s a long haul from Southeastern Washington to Olympia, but the same issues of education and changing demographics hit home out on the farm.

This time of year Rep. Joe Schmick (R) of the 9th LD, can’t help but miss the routine of daily life back home. A second-generation farmer, Schmick lives in Colfax in the southeastern corner of Washington state, where he grows garbanzo beans and a handful of other crops. While his neighbors and constituents ready their fields, Schmick uproots to Olympia, where he lives in a trailer in a campground just outside the Capitol.

“We’re either going 100 miles an hour, or doing zero,” he said of the pace of legislative life.

But in that regard, Schmick’s family history of farming has helped him in Olympia. It’s his familiarity with the working man that he says distinguishes him from other figures in the political arena.

“There are too few people [in Olympia] that sign the front side of a paycheck or have to balance not just a household budget but a business budget,” says his colleague Sen. Mark Schoesler (R), also of the 9th district.

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