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Posted on Jan 8, 2019

Decision on legislative seat due by mid-January

The decision on who will take the spot of Matt Manweller in the state Legislature will likely come by mid-January, said Quincy’s Alex Ybarra, one of the three candidates for the position.
County commissioners from the counties in the 13th Legislative District, Manweller’s district, have not voted yet on a replacement, Ybarra said.
The other two people being considered for the legislative seat to be vacated by Manweller are Ian Elliott, of Ellensburg, and Danny Stone, of Almira. Manweller said before the November 2018 election that he would resign if re-elected, which would leave the question of his replacement in the hands of the state Republican Party and county commissioners.
The list of hopefuls got narrowed down to the three finalists in late October. In November, Manweller won a new term in the state Legislature, and in December, he submitted a letter of resignation to Gov. Jay Inslee.
Manweller’s last day in Olympia is Jan. 14, Ybarra said.
Meanwhile, Ybarra has begun doing research on what issues the 13th Legislative District faces. The district covers a broad stretch of land, from Snoqualmie Pass all the way to Davenport, in Lincoln County, and the challenges it deals with are just as varied.
“A lot of it is water, renewable energy, education, transportation,” Ybarra said.
The learning curve is a bit scary, but he says that if he is lucky enough to be chosen, chances are, his party will put him to work in an area he knows, like education or energy or agriculture. Ybarra is a member of the Quincy School Board of Directors, and he works for the Grant County Public Utility District.
In addition, “I have lived in Quincy all my life, and my brother’s an orchardist as well as my sister-in-law,” he said.
He said the people at the PUD have been really positive about his decision to pursue a seat in the Legislature. Some details remain unresolved, like how to manage a job at Grant PUD and days at a time in Olympia.
“I still have a job, I still have a daughter in college that I have to pay for her schooling,” he said. “All those details have to be considered if I were to take this position.”
Calling his chances to be chosen “a long shot,” Ybarra said he is not thinking about whether he will have to resign his spot on the school board if he gets appointed to Olympia.
“I’m a mathematician, and at the end of the day it’s a one-in-three chance,” Ybarra said. “Odds are one in three. Those aren’t the best options.”
At the same time, the odds were worse in October, and he beat them then.
“I’m pretty lucky to even be asked to put my hat in the ring,” Ybarra said.

By Sebastian Moraga,