State government Rep. Hans Zeiger, R-Puyallup, plans to run for his seat in the 25th District this fall in hopes of capturing a third term.
Zeiger will host his campaign kickoff at 7 p.m. on May 8 at Zeiger Elementary School. The Herald recently chatted with the legislator about his accomplishments over the past four years and what he still hopes to accomplish.
Q: What has inspired you to run for re-election in the fall?
A: I’ve considered it a real blessing to serve this community over the last few years. I feel like I’m in a spot now where I can really get some things done for our community. You know, working on transportation infrastructure ... working on economic development, education opportunities and a more accountable, efficient government. I think I’ve been able to build some very significant relationships in both parties in Olympia and just as importantly, build a lot of key relationships in our community. So, I enjoy serving but I take the responsibility very seriously. And there are some major issues confronting our state that I look forward to tackling next year.
Q: What is one policy issue that you are campaigning on in the fall and why?
A: Education is going to continue to be a huge issue in this state following the McCleary decision. The Legislature faces the task of investing billions of additional dollars into education. We made a good start on that in 2013 with an additional $1.6 billion that we invested in education. But we have significant work to do in 2015 to meet our McCleary task and that is going to require bipartisan collaboration and will require compromise and above all, a commitment to the premise in our state constitution that education is the state’s paramount duty.
Q: What have been some accomplishments in your previous two terms?
A: I think the biggest accomplishment is not any one policy but the relationships that I have been able to form with colleagues in Olympia, with stakeholders on a variety of issues and, most importantly, with citizens of the 25th District.
Politics is a relational enterprise and I have built so many friendships over the last few years. That’s significant because I believe that good relationships make for good policies.
I’ve been instrumental in making sure that Highway 167 is the No. 1 project in any kind of future transportation funding package and reforming the way we fund our state transportation, making our higher education system more accessible and accountable, honoring our veterans and making government more transparent. I think we need a more relational style of politics in our time and I think this community is a good place to have that.
Q: Do you have any disappointments from your previous two terms?
A: I’m disappointed that we haven’t completed Highway 167, but I’m optimistic that we can do that. There have been some wonderful things that I’ve been able to witness during my time. I’ve seen the rise of a bipartisan model of government that I think has been particularly effective in the Senate. The Majority Coalition Caucus has proven that you can bring Republicans and Democrats together to make good policy. For example, last year’s budget had the strongest bipartisan support in over 20 years. Split government is a whole lot better than one-party control.
Q: How do you try to be the best representative for the 25th District?
A: I think above all is a commitment to listening. Keeping an open door and being willing to listen. We have a diverse district with a lot of different opinions and I try to gather as many different opinions about an issue before I make a decision. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of being available for citizens to approach and a good number of the bills that I’ve sponsored have been brought to me by constituents who had concerns and we crafted legislation based on their concerns.
Q: What is something that people may not know about Hans Zeiger?
A: Last year I did 21 hikes. I love hiking. I think our state is so beautiful. Hiking got in my blood when I was a kid. I try to get out every weekend that I possibly can to find some trail. I’ve got my list for this year.
Andrew Fickes: 253-552-7001 andrew.fickes @puyallupherald.com Twitter: @herald_andrew