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WA Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz running for governor

Franz has led the department for 7 years

By Ed Komenda, Associated Press

SEATTLE — Washington Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz announced her campaign for governor on Wednesday, May 10.

“Washington is facing urgent issues – from a rapidly changing climate, to a housing crisis across the entire state, and soaring income inequality pushing families out of the middle class,” Franz, a Democrat, said in a statement. “I’m running for Governor to make bold progress and solve these issues, and to do so quickly.”

Franz has spent the last seven years leading the department responsible for millions of acres of public lands in Washington. In a campaign video posted to YouTube on Wednesday, she touted her success in 2021 with securing $500 million from the Washington state Legislature to prevent and fight wildfires.

Franz, 52, served on the Bainbridge Island City Council, Puget Sound Transportation Futures Task Force and other panels before becoming commissioner. She was also the executive director of Futurewise, an environmental advocacy group.

“Growing up, my dad taught me that epic progress happens when you do two things: You work together and you take care of people first,” Franz said in a fundraising email sent Wednesday. “I’m running for governor because with all that’s at stake right now, anything shy of epic won’t cut it.”

Franz said she would like to build a comprehensive climate action plan, address rising housing and rent costs, expand good-paying jobs and lower costs for working families.

Gov. Jay Inslee announced on May 1 that he would not seek a fourth term. At 72, the Democrat is the longest-serving governor in office in the U.S., and is only the second Washington governor to be elected to three consecutive terms.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson launched an exploratory campaign for governor one day after Inslee announced he won’t run again.

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