CASHMERE — Keith Goehner said he decided to run for the Washington House of Representatives because he wanted to bring a local government perspective to Olympia. Goehner is the Republican candidate for the 12th District seat, Position No. 1. He is running against Ann Diamond, Winthrop, running as an independent.
Currently Goehner, Cashmere, is a Chelan County Commissioner, finishing his fourth term. He said he intended to retire from government at the end of the year, but decided to run for the seat after longtime Representative Cary Condotta announced he would not seek reelection.
Goehner said he served as liaison to the legislature, and wanted “to have a voice for local government,” he said.
Often the Legislature and state government don’t understand the impacts of legislative decisions on other jurisdictions, he said, such as counties and cities. It’s important to ensure that government actions don’t make it harder to prosper, Goehner said.
Goehner was and is a pear grower, and agriculture is the biggest industry in the 12th District, he said. It’s important, in his opinion, that there be people presenting agriculture’s point of view in Olympia. One of the biggest challenges to the agriculture industry is housing for workers, he said, and the search for solutions illuminates a larger issue. Existing regulations make it more difficult to build affordable housing – and legislators need to think about how legislation and regulation impact state residents.
Land use protections are a good thing, he said, but local governments need to have the flexibility to make decisions that fit local conditions. Goehner cited the Growth Management Act as an example. The GMA makes it more difficult to build housing in a place like Chelan County, where about 13 percent of the land is private property.
“The lifeblood of the 12th District is small business,” Goehner said. It’s important that legislation and regulation doesn’t make it tougher for small business to succeed. Good jobs make communities stronger, and the legislature needs to ensure government – and the decisions government makes – don’t make it more difficult for communities to prosper, he said.