An emergency room doctor from Gig Harbor has announced he will run for the state House of Representatives. Nathan Schlicher plans to run for the 26th Legislative District's Position 1 seat this fall.
Schlicher is eyeing the seat that's currently held by Jesse Young, R-Gig Harbor, in a move that potentially would be legislative musical chairs. Young was appointed to the House after the seat was vacated by Sen. Jan Angel.
Angel, R-Port Orchard, moved to the Senate after she defeated Schlicher for the seat in 2012. Schlicher had been appointed to the seat after former Sen. Derek Kilmer was elected to Congress in 2011. Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, decided to run in the 6th Congressional District after Norm Dicks announced his intention to retire.
Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor, said he was motivated to run for the House because he feels his health care background is needed in Olympia.
“There’s a need for people to understand health care … and I think it’s an opportunity to serve in a unique capacity," he said.
He also said he saw a lack of progress during this past legislative session. Votes against early learning were particularly troublesome, he said.
Schlicher said his background as an emergency room doctor would be an asset in the health care debate. His experience working with the public gives him incentive to improve the economy, and his role as a father influences his view on education, he said.
“My passion is on getting folks back to work, education and, obviously, health care,” Schlicher said.
Schlicher said this race will be different. After the defeat in November, he returned home and saw issues on which he wanted take action.
His race against Angel for the Senate seat drew national attention. It amounted to the most expensive state Senate race ever. Although Schlicher was the incumbent, Angel has a lot of experience in the Legislature.
“I think the difference is, last year, there was a 15-year incumbent running against me,” Schlicher said.
Although he didn't win, Schlicher said he is proud of his run. He said he enjoyed the conversations he had with constituents about health care and education. He hopes he can take those conversations and bring "common sense back to Olympia."
The district's Position 2 in the House is held by Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor. Schlicher said he plans to work with Seaquist during the election season. He plans to hold a kickoff event later this month or in early May.
Schlicher grew up in Bremerton and now lives in Gig Harbor with his wife Jessica and three children. He graduated from Pacific Lutheran University and attended the University of Washington School of Law and School of Medicine. He is currently an associate director for the TeamHealth National Patient Safety Organization. He practices emergency medicine at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma.
Schlicher serves on patient advocacy boards, volunteers at the Key Peninsula Free Clinic and is active in the United Methodist Church.
Reporter Karen Miller can be reached at 253-358-4155 or by email at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter, @gateway_karen.