Long-time Congressman Doc Hastings Announces Retirement, Who’ll Be Tapped?

By Anna King

U.S. Congressman, Doc Hastings, announced Thursday he’s retiring at the end of the year. Political watchers are already speculating on who might run to replace the long-time U.S. representative. The district is considered strongly Republican, so a Democratic upset is unlikely.

Doc Hastings served two decades as southcentral Washington’s Republican congressman.

Doc Hastings: “I turned 73 last friday, and one more term I would have been nearly 76, so I just thought this was the right time.”

The 10-term Congressman says he’s worked to protect the livelihoods important to the Yakima Valley and the Tri-Cities. That includes nuclear cleanup, agriculture and natural resources. Hastings has fought on issues not popular in Western Washington and in other parts of the country.

Doc Hastings: “When there are threats to our dams for example or if there is an over interpretation to the Endangered Species Act that has a negative effect on our economy.”

Hastings says he’s fought to keep hydroelectric dams firmly in place along the Columbia and Snake rivers. Despite protests by salmon advocates. And as the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, he’s pushed to reduce the clout of the Endangered Species Act for landowners nationwide.
Bruce Smith is the publisher of the Yakima Valley Business Times. He watches southcentral Washington politics closely. He says Hastings’ power and seniority in Congress will be hard to replace – but also his report with business owners and farmers.

Bruce Smith: “He’s been the same guy for the 25 years that I’ve known him. He’s the same whether he’s wearing jeans or a suit and that’s really unusual in this business.”

According to political observers, the short list of candidates that might be in the running for Hastings’ seat include: East-side State Senator Janea Homquist Newbry , Clint Didier, who made a run for Washington governor as a conservative Republican, Benton County commissioner Jerome Delvin and former state agriculture director Dan Newhouse.

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