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Hurst planning return to House of Representatives

Former legislator is hoping to again serve the 31st District

By Kevin Hanson

The Courier-Herald

After four years of watching from the sidelines, Christopher Hurst is ready to jump back into Washington's political game.

The one-time state legislator, who stepped aside for family reasons, is charting a strategy and putting together a campaign team, all with an eye on returning to the Legislature next year. Hurst, who lives up state Route 410 in the small community of Greenwater, filed necessary paperwork with the state's Public Disclosure Commission months ago.

The Democratic lawmaker previously served a pair of two-year terms in the House of Representatives, elected in 1998 and 2000. He represented the 31st Legislative District, which includes Enumclaw, Buckley, Bonney Lake and Sumner.

Beginning work on a 2006 campaign, Hurst said, is in keeping with plans he made four years ago. "Nothing has changed," he said during an interview last week. "When I left, the plan was to take four years away from politics."

Hurst left the Legislature behind, he said, to spend more time with his immediate family, primarily a daughter who was 14 at the time. "Being a good father was more important than being in the Legislature," he said.

That didn't go over so well in Olympia, he admitted. "Most people did not understand that in the political world," he said.

In the state House of Representatives, where Democrats and Republicans battled for power, he was seen as nearly unbeatable had he chosen to stay, Hurst said. But, with Hurst out of the picture, the Democrats gave up the seat without a fight. Jan Shabro, fresh off a stint on the Pierce County Council, ran uncontested in 2002 and was re-elected in 2004.

Hurst said Democratic Party bosses tried hard to change his mind, pressuring him to file for re-election until the final day.

Now, those same people are encouraging him to jump back into the world of state politics, Hurst said, noting that he's had conversations with such party leaders as Frank Chopp and Lisa Brown.

The paperwork he filed with the state doesn't require that he identify which position he'll run for - it only limits his political choice to the House of Representatives. And Hurst hasn't gone on record as stating which incumbent he plans to oppose, Shabro or Dan Roach.

"The political landscape could change between now and then," he said, admitting that some believe he'll change his filing status and run for the state Senate.

Kevin Hanson can be reached at khanson@courierherald.com.

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