Washington Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz drops out of governor's race to run for Congress

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington state Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz is dropping her bid for the governor’s office to run for Congress.

Franz, a Democrat who lives in Grays Harbor County, is running to replace retiring Rep. Derek Kilmer, who has served the 6th Congressional District since 2013.

In an announcement Friday, Franz said she decided to run for Congress after speaking with voters across Washington and learning of their concerns: rising prices, reproductive freedom and women’s rights, the future of democracy, the support of veterans and military families and the climate crisis.

“The challenges we face extend beyond the borders of Washington, and so must our solutions,” Franz said in a statement Friday. "I am running for Congress to bring my vision for bold, transformative action to our nation’s capital and keep fighting for families across our region.”

Franz has spent the last seven years leading the department responsible for millions of acres of public lands in Washington. She has touted her success in 2021 with securing $500 million from the Washington state Legislature to prevent and fight wildfires.

Franz, 52, served on the Bainbridge Island City Council, Puget Sound Transportation Futures Task Force and other panels before becoming commissioner. She was also the executive director of Futurewise, an environmental advocacy group.