Rep. Richard DeBolt will not seek re-election

Rep. Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis, announced today he will not seek another term to the Washington State House of Representatives.  The former director for the Chehalis-Centralia Chamber, and native of Tacoma, has served the 20th District as a state representative since his election in 1996.

Rising on the House floor for a point of personal privilege, DeBolt said that, in part, the choice to retire was due to a pair of shoes purchased early in his legislative career. During his freshman year, an older colleague recommended he buy good, sturdy shoes for the work that lay ahead.

DeBolt shared that since buying those shoes they’ve been re-soled multiple times. This year, he was informed by a local shoe repair store owner that they could no longer be repaired.

“I knew then it was time for me to retire. I love this institution so much, and I love each and every one of you,” DeBolt said.

After his announcement, the 20th District lawmaker took a few moments to express thanks for the sacrifices in time and commitment his wife and family have made over the years.

“I’m incredibly grateful for my family. From the beginning, my wife has been my greatest supporter. There have been times I wanted to quit. It was my wife that encouraged me to keep pushing, keep working, and keep succeeding.”

“We all get opportunities to do things in life that matter, that has a purpose. Working here is one of those things,” he continued.

His wife of more than thirty years, Amy, also expressed her thanks for all the help they have received during her husband’s time in office.

“I’m very grateful to the people who have supported us through the years. It’s been an incredible journey. We’ve made so many friends along the way,” said Amy.

DeBolt was selected to be the deputy minority leader for the House Republican Caucus in 2003. Later that year, he was appointed by his colleagues as a minority leader, serving in that capacity for more than nine years.

“It’s humbling to lead a group of people as hard-working and dedicated as our caucus,” he said. “When I first considered office, I had no idea what it took to do this job well. Along the way, I’ve learned from some of the best men and women this state has to offer. It’s been an honor to be in their company.”

DeBolt’s long career in the House of Representatives includes, among others, serving on the Health Care and Wellness, Natural Resources, Ways and Means, Energy Conservation, Local Government and Housing, Technology and Economic Development, and Rules Committees.

More recently he has served as the ranking member on the Environment and Energy Committee, and several years as the ranking member of the Capital Budget Committee. In 2019, he was instrumental in getting $4.9 billion in infrastructure improvement projects around the state-approved by the Legislature.

“My work on the state’s capital budget has been one of the greatest highlights of my time in Olympia. It’s incredibly satisfying to sit with members of both sides of the aisle to find solutions to some of the toughest infrastructure and construction needs in Washington state.”

“Although I won’t miss the late nights hammering out numbers, I genuinely enjoyed the opportunity to listen and learn from people that did not always agree with me. And really, isn’t that what producing good policy is all about?” he continued.

DeBolt will continue to serve the 20th District through the 2020 session.


Washington State House Republican Communications