Local lawmaker to be temporarily replaced by stepdaughter as he reports for military duty


Lilian Hale, the stepdaughter of 19th District Rep. Joel McEntire, R-Cathlamet, a U.S. Marine Corps reservist, will temporarily serve as his replacement at the end of the legislative session.

On Tuesday, the Lewis County Board of Commissioners will vote to appoint Hale as a temporary lawmaker in the Washington state House of Representatives.

A resolution appointing Hale notes McEntire advised the county commissioners he has been “called to active service or training” from approximately March 5 to March 8. The legislative session is scheduled to end on March 7.

The 19th District includes portions of Lewis, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Pacific, Thurston and Wahkiakum counties.

In an email, McEntire said Hale is studying nursing at Lower Columbia College. While not required, it is customary for family members to fill in for deployed state officials.

In 2017, Sen. John Braun’s wife, Marlo Braun, was temporarily sworn in by Lewis County District Court Judge Wade Samuelson while her husband completed required military training with the U.S. Navy Reserve.

According to previous reporting by The Chronicle, the wife of former Sen. Mike Kreidler, of the 22nd District in Thurston County, served in his place for nearly the entire 1991 session when Kreidler was called for active duty deployment.

McEntire was elected to the House of Representatives in 2020 and serves on the Education, Capital Budget and Post Secondary Education and Workforce committees.

During the current session, McEntire sponsored legislation that would require higher education institutions to offer an early registration period for military members and dependents. House Bill 2004 unanimously passed the House of Representatives and is in the Senate for consideration.

"Being in the military is not easy. You never know when you are going to have to pick up and go," McEntire, a member of the military for 13 years, said in a statement after the bill cleared the House. "This gives those who serve and sacrifice for their country some assistance in making sure they are able to enroll in the classes they need. Military orders don't coincide with class registration."