Frank Chopp has represented the 43rd District in Olympia since 1995. Though he stepped aside last year from his role of Speaker of the House, Chopp isn’t ready to end his run at the capitol. Tuesday, the 66-year-old announced he will seek reelection for another two-year term.
“I initially ran for the legislature to be an advocate for housing, working families, and health care,” Chopp said in the announcement. “I am proud of the thousands of homes that I’ve worked to fund and see built, but there is so much more to do, in a crisis that demands focus and experience. I’m excited to continue working hard for the people of the district and our state. I’ve identified real sites where we can and must invest in safe, affordable housing to help our neighbors in need. I’m energized and organized for the opportunities ahead.”
Chopp’s recent run of election victories could be a model for establishment Democrats facing an onslaught of challenges from the left. In Chopp’s last race, he faced tepid competition from a Republican challenger who could only claim around 10% of the vote. But before that, he has twice fended off Socialist Alternative challengers. In 2014, he demolished the group’s campaign for Jess Spear. And in the 2012 election, he defeated upstart candidate Kshama Sawant in what for Chopp was a squeaker — a 71% to 29% victory.
Chopp’s Capitol Hill credentials go back to the 1970s when he was among the earliest residents of 16th and Aloha’s PRAG House. In 1995, he began his first term in the state legislature and became speaker in 1999.
In 2014, he told CHS one of his proudest accomplishments was helping to create the state Housing Trust Fund. Chopp counted more than 70 projects in the 43rd District that benefitted from the fund, including 12th Avenue Arts.
In his announcement, Chopp highlighted his part in building “a 20-year Democratic majority that passed significant legislation to expand health care, build union membership throughout Washington, raise teacher salaries, safeguard reproductive rights and women’s health care, reduce gun violence, and so much more.”
The incumbent also laid out four priorities for his next term:
- Implement and expand the Workforce Education Investment act;
- Invest in early learning and child care facilities;
- Expand health care for all and make significant investments in behavioral health treatment;
- Continue development of affordable and supportive housing for those most in need.
Meanwhile, CHS spoke with Chopp and his 43rd District cohorts here about their 2020 legislative session priorities including homelessness, housing, reproductive health care, climate change, and schools.
You can hear more from Chopp as well as Rep. Nicole Macri and Sen. Jamie Pedersen at the upcoming 43rd Legislative District Town Hall:
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