Rep. Nealey will not seek re-election

Dayton lawmaker will retire after 8 years in the Legislature

Rep. Terry Nealey, R-Dayton, announced Tuesday, March 6, that he will not seek re-election.

Credit: Washington State House Republican Communications
Rep. Terry Nealey, R-Dayton, announced Tuesday, March 6, that he will not seek re-election.

— A longtime lawmaker is stepping down at the end of his legislative turn.

Rep. Terry Nealey, R-Dayton, announced Tuesday, March 6, that he will not seek re-election.

“After a great deal of soul searching, I have decided it is best to retire from the Legislature at the end of my term in January and spend more time with my family,” Nealey said.

A former Columbia County prosecuting attorney and coroner, Nealey has represented Eastern Washington’s 16th District in the legislature since being elected 2009.

“It has been an honor and a great adventure to serve the citizens of the 16th District and the state of Washington,” Nealey said. “I’ve met so many people and made a lot of new friends. It takes an enormous amount of time and commitment to serve as a legislator.

“I appreciate my family’s sacrifice, especially my wife, Jan, for her tremendous support during the time I have served.”

In December 2012, Nealey was named ranking Republican on the House Finance Committee, which considers taxes and tax exemptions related to state revenues. In February 2013, he was appointed to the state Economic and Revenue Forecast Council as the House Republican representative. He continues to serve on both groups.

He also served on the House Appropriations Committee during the 2017 session at the height of McCleary education funding negotiations.

“When I first considered this office, it was out of growing frustration with the state operating budget,” Nealey said. “I felt the Legislature was going the wrong way. It was expanding government, overspending, not putting money away during good economic times, and then asking citizens to dig deeper in their pockets when they could hardly afford it during economic downturns.”

Serving in state government runs in Nealey’s family.

His father, Darwin Nealey, served as the 9th Legislative District representative from Whitman County from 1983 to 1994.

“I knew this state could do a better job managing the budget. I felt I could influence it and that’s why I ran,” Nealey said. “Today, we have $1.8 billion in the state’s rainy-day fund. We’ve directed a record amount of money into K-12 education and our state budget is on much more solid ground than nine years ago.

“There are still challenges in the budget, but we’ve been able to address most of the state’s needs within existing revenue, while staving off tax increases. The budget outlook is better off than when I first arrived in Olympia.”

Nealey also noted his work on energy, water and agricultural issues:

“Southeast Washington is the power belt of the Northwest. We have clean hydropower, carbon-free baseload nuclear power and wind, but few in Olympia were talking about how to make the best use of these resources and plan for the future,” Nealey said. “I worked to open a conversation about creating a long-term state energy policy that would work to keep rates low while preparing for expected demands in the coming years.

“Between the budget, energy policies and bringing a perspective to Olympia from the standpoint of a rural attorney and businessman, I hope I’ve been able to make a positive difference for the district,” he added. “I have appreciated the opportunity, but now is the time to finish my work in the Legislature.”


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