Jared Frerichs is a Correctional Officer at the Washington State Penitentiary and is running for Walla Walla County Commissioner
Jared Frerichs is a military veteran and CO2 at the Washington State Penitentiary. He is also running for Walla Walla County Commissioner. Earlier this week Jared finished second in his primary, therefore advancing to the November 8 general election. We caught up with Jared to ask about his campaign and his message to Walla Walla County voters.
Tell us a little about yourself and the work you do.
I’ve always felt a deep love and commitment to my community. Many of my values and lessons were formed in the fields, hills, and along the riverbanks of the Walla Walla Valley.
When I turned eighteen, I joined the United States Coast Guard. After serving in the military for 10 years, I moved back to Walla Walla County. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, but had a desire to make things better in my local community.
I began working for the DOC as a corrections officer at the recommendation of my mother. She has been a psychologist at WSP for about 15 years. She told me I would enjoy corrections work.
How have you been involved with your union at DOC?
I have always had a passion for politics. I was thrilled that my union offered me the opportunity to meet with my lawmakers in Olympia. I saw the immediate impact of these meetings. Every issue we talked about led to laws being passed that budget cycle.
After that, I applied to become a shop steward, and have been very active with the union ever since. I always tell my coworkers that engagement with the union is how we solve issues in the workplace and in our community.
What elected position you are running for?
I am currently running for Walla Walla County Commissioner.
What inspired you to run for this position?
Local politics has the most direct and biggest impact on the people close to you.
I see issues that aren’t getting answered in my community. I want to take a new approach to solving these issues. I want to make Walla Walla County a place where working families can thrive.
What are your top issues?
There are three issues central to my campaign.
My top priority is creating livable wage jobs. Walla Walla County is 20 percent below the national average for income. But the cost of living is 3 percent above national average. Over the years we have lost industry after industry. I want to bring good jobs back to our community.
My second issue is public safety. We are seeing an uptick of crime in Walla Walla County. The situation is beginning to look like Yakima before their crime wave. I want to make sure that doesn’t happen here.
The third issue is our environment. Last year a major fire almost shut our entire city down. We need to care for our environment for our own safety and protection.
What is your idea to build a gun range?
I’d like to build a public gun range.
When I left the military, I worked as a firearm instructor as a civilian for the Marine Corps. The range I worked at served military and law enforcement during the daytime, but at night was open to the public. Every night there was a line outside the door of people wanting to use the range.
I want to bring this idea to our county. This would generate revenue for the county and create good jobs. But mainly, it would offer the citizens of our county a recreation opportunity that is a passion of many members of our community, including myself.
What is your message to the voters?
Get involved. Whether you support me, or another candidate, I encourage you to get involved in local politics. Please come to me and let me know what your issues are. I would be more than happy to talk to you and find solutions. These issues I talk about are all of our issues.
How has your involvement in the Union helped you to run for office?
Since I went to Lobby Day and have been active in politics it was natural for me to have the support of our poilitical department. I will say, too, that our Secretary-Treasurer John Scearcy has been an incredible mentor to me in encouraging me to run, and he’s directed our political staff at the local to be engaged in my campaign, and I honestly think I couldn’t do this without all the support.
How can voters learn more about you?
My phone number and email address are on my website Jared4ww.com. I am more than happy to talk with anyone over the phone or schedule a face-to-face meeting. Also, please like my Facebook page at facebook.com/jared4ww.
Congratulations on making it past the August 2 primary. How does your approach change for the November 8 general election?
Now that we are past the Primary the race opens up. My task is getting our message out to the entire County of Walla Walla. That takes extra volunteer support and resources. My objective is the same, meet with voters and listen to their issues about building our vision for the future of Walla Walla County.