John Braun to Challenge Swecker for Senate Seat

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Rural Centralia resident John Braun has announced his candidacy for state Senate against longtime incumbent Dan Swecker.

Both candidates are Republicans.

Braun, a Salzer Valley resident, owns Braun Northwest, Inc., which specializes in building emergency vehicles and employs more than 150 people, he said.

Swecker, who is from Rochester, was first appointed to the Senate in 1995.

Braun said he has great respect for Swecker, but a change is necessary.

“I think he served honorably. But he’s been there 17 years,” Braun said. “It’s time to get somebody new. He’s no longer in touch with the private sector, and because of that his choices haven’t necessarily been in the best interest of the district.”

Braun said the 20th Legislative district needs someone who will fight a little bit harder for reduced government spending and a better business environment.

Braun said he will fight for lower taxes and make jobs a top priority.

Braun hasn’t run for office before — “I’m not a politician,” he said — but he says he is a business leader and has been involved in the community, and that’s the kind of experience needed in Olympia.

Braun, 45, serves on the boards of the Centralia College Foundation, Providence Centralia Hospital and the Timberland Regional Library.

He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and continues to serve as a commander in the Navy Reserve. He has an engineering degree from the University of Washington and master’s degrees in business and engineering from the University of Michigan.

Swecker, 65, served in Vietnam as a U.S. Army helicopter pilot. He has a bachelor of arts degree in cooperative education from The Evergreen State College.

Swecker’s community involvement includes serving as fire commissioner and volunteer fireman and founding the American Salmon Growers Association. He serves on several special legislative committees, including the Transportation Permit Efficiency & Accountability Committee, the Legislative Oversight Committee on Public-Private Partnerships in Transportation and Task Force on the Funding of State Parks & Outdoor Recreation.

Swecker could not be reached for a comment before deadline.

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Bianca Fortis: (360) 807-8245

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