HOPE IS IN THE HOUSEWeeks after election night the count is in BY PAM STEVENS | EDITOR Weeks after the general election is over, Mike Hope can finally claim victory in the tight race for a seat in the Washington State House of Representatives.
After losing two previous elections in 2004 and 2006, Hope never gave up the hope that he would represent the 44th District down in Olympia, even after opponent Liz Loomis claimed victory on election night when polls showed her with 53 percent of the vote.
However, as more ballots came in the numbers started changing leaving Hope with a small lead and a recount inevitable.
The Secretary of State reported that in Snohomish County, the 44th Legislative District House Position 2 battle between appointed Democratic incumbent Liz Loomis and Republican challenger Mike Hope shows Hope leading by 118 votes out of more than 68,000 cast, a difference of 0.14 percentage points.
Under state law, a hand recount in a state legislative race is required if the margin is less than 150 votes and closer than one-fourth of one percent of the total votes cast for both candidates.
“The recount process is very open and transparent,” said State Elections Director Nick Handy. “Political parties may have observers present at all stages of this process.”
Now, more than four weeks later, Hope a Republican, is looking forward to starting the 2009 legislative session with a seat on the floor in Washington State’s Congress.
“I am honored and humbled that the people of the 44th District are giving me the opportunity to represent them in Olympia,” Hope said. “I look forward to making Lake Stevens and the rest of our district a better place to live.”
Hope met with his caucus and picked committees on which he would like to serve while in Olympia. Being that Hope is a Seattle Police Officer, putting down the Judiciary Committee as a top pick was a no brainer.
“I’m hoping to get on the Judiciary Committee because we believe that the biggest problem we have in law enforcement is the judiciary which lets the criminals out of jail early,” he said. “I think that is the weakest link in law enforcement.”
Another committee that interest him is the Transportation Committee.
“I would like to see improvements on the intersection of SR 204 and Highway 9,” Hope said.
Hope also believes in bringing a four-year college campus to the Lake Stevens/Snohomish area. If not a University of Washington campus than hopefully something similar. He hopes to work with Senator Steve Hobbs (D-44th District) in seeing this come to fruition.
“A four-year college in this area will help the students here,” Hope said. “I would like to see Snohomish County students get first dibs on scholarships and acceptance into the college.”
It is important to Hope to have a good relationship with the cities he represents which include not only Lake Stevens but also Snohomish and Mill Creek. He also wants those in his district to know that he works for them.
“One of my biggest things is to develop a good relationship with Mayor Little and the Lake Stevens City Council,” Hope said. “I am here to represent the 44th District, not special interest groups..”
With the current and heated discussion between Snohomish and Lake Stevens regarding the land on SR 9 and Highway 2, Hope is quick to point out that it is an issue between the cities and the county. However, he would like to talk to other representatives of the district and both cities to see if there is a way to help the process.
“I would like to sit down and meet with both sides. Senator Hobbs, Representative Dunshee and I will have to talk to one other,” Hope said. “I think that my opponent sided with Snohomish early instead of trying to find compromise.”
As Hope prepares to head for the House in Olympia he recognizes that he wouldn’t have been able to do it without the citizens of Lake Stevens, which is where most of his votes came from.
“Having someone from Lake Stevens in both the House and the Senate is a positive for Lake Stevens. We will have more of a chance to get things accomplished,” Hope said.
For now, he wants to hear from his constituents whenever possible.
“We have an open door policy. Please feel free to contact us, we are open for ideas,” he said.
Mike Hope is not only a Seattle Police Officer but also coaches track and wrestling for Monroe High School and owns a gym in Monroe.
To contact Hope go to firstname.lastname@example.org. He will be assigned an office and phone number in Olympia in the coming weeks.