Vocal conservative, veteran declares candidacy for Pike’s seat

Pike offers her endorsement, will not seek reelection as she shifts her focus to her County Council campaign

  • Jonathan Haukaas /jonathan@thereflector.com

The Reflector news report.

Last week, vocal conservative John Ley announced he will be running for 18th District State Representative, Position 2, a seat currently held by Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas. 

“I am running for State Representative because I want to help restore responsible, citizen-focused, state government,” Ley said in his announcement. “The people of the 18th District need the best possible team representing them. My life experiences lead me to want to continue serving the people.”

Ley has long been one of Pike’s staple supporters. He could often be spotted at town halls for local legislators, contributed a number of letters to The Reflector’s opinion pages and has been published by Clark County Today, an online media outlet owned by former County Councilor Dave Madore.


The Reflector spoke with Ley as he was boarding a plane to Seattle last Friday, and he said that Pike began discussing with him the possibility of pursuing another avenue a while back — her new endeavor turned out to be a run for Clark County Council, an announcement she made on Aug. 19. She told him he was the person people looked up to “as a fighter for the people” and encouraged him to run for a seat in Olympia.

Much like the message Pike has stumped on throughout her political career, Ley said in his announcement that fiscal conservatism with taxpayer dollars is of utmost importance.

“We must learn to live within our means, just like our citizens do. I pledge to manage the people’s money conservatively and faithfully,” he said. “Our citizens deserve a representative who will work diligently on their behalf from day one.”

Pike offered a glowing endorsement for Ley during a phone call with The Reflector last Friday, saying she would trust him with her tax dollars and couldn’t think of anyone better to fill her seat.

“He’s proven himself to be knowledgeable on really important issues,” she said. “He holds a lot of the same conservative values that I do on government’s role, and most importantly limited government.”

Through his announcement, Ley also addressed a few issues Clark County is currently grappling with: the Columbia River conundrum, creating jobs and education funding.

Columbia River crossing 

Ley offered strong words toward Oregon legislation.

“We must halt Oregon’s outrageous plan to toll both I-5 and I-205 at the Washington border. This plan will harm low wage workers the most, and will deliver negligible improvements in regional transportation,” he stated, and later added, “sadly, it reminds me of the former Oregon Governor’s demand: ‘no light rail, no bridge’ regarding the Columbia River Crossing. Issuing one sided demands is not a way to build trust or to find legitimate solutions.”

Ley said lawmakers from both states need to look at all options before moving forward and that light rail is not an option.

“We must begin a new dialog with all citizens on both sides of the Columbia River,” he stated. “All options must be on the table, including multiple ways to cross the river and upgrading the existing structures. Any solution must reduce traffic congestion, improve freight mobility, be cost effective, and not include tolls. Light rail is not a viable option at this time.”

Creating jobs 

Along with a competitive industrial insurance program and reducing regulations, Ley wants to reconstruct Washington’s Business and Occupation tax, believing it would be beneficial to local businesses.

“We must create an environment where private sector job growth can flourish. We must remove or reduce barriers to job creation,” he said.

Education funding 

Ley said he wants to allow local entities more autonomy in school-related decision making.

“We need to focus on improving the quality of our children’s education,” he said. “I believe local parents, school boards and administrators know what their children and schools need the most. Getting the proper resources into their hands the most efficiently, with the least restrictions should be paramount.”

Ley, who resides in Camas, spent over a decade in the Air Force and is now a captain for Delta Air Lines. He is also a real estate owner and played a role in the inception of Northwest Safe Retirements.