Student running for House of Representatives

Junior political science major looks to provide new opinions and perspectives



Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs for ASWSU, Ryan Vance believes that food insecurity is a major issues and hopes to combat it if he wins, Tuesday evening in the CUB. Should Vance win the election, he would be the first 22 year old to hold the office since 1920.

LAUREN ELLENBECKER, Evergreen reporter

A WSU student is running for a seat in the Washington House of Representatives as a Republican to voice his concerns for eastern Washington.

Ryan Vance, ASWSU deputy director of legislative affairs and junior political science major, said a democracy needs to have seats changing frequently in order to include new opinions and perspectives.

“This desire to run for office has come from wanting to see more efforts for change in this area,” he said. “Call it cocky, but I think I have good ideas.”

These positions are for people who are proactive in bringing about positive change, rather than acquiring prestige or wealth, he said.

Despite being native to the west side of the state, Vance is focusing on the ninth legislative district of Washington, which includes Whitman County.

Vance said he wants to cultivate and tend to a culture that is more mindful of smaller businesses instead of large corporations. He said he wants to fight food insecurity in eastern Washington as well as incentivize families and students to start farms.

Vance, who is 21 years old, dismissed the idea that his age limits him in pursuing his goal. He said he plans to manage his academics during weekdays and spend his weekends campaigning.

“As long as there’s passion and a true belief in a message someone has, that permits them to run,” he said. “Don’t let your age stop you from doing something good.”

If Vance is elected, he would be one of the youngest elected since the early 1900s.

His birthday and the general election fall on the same date. If he is elected, Vance would be inaugurated as a 22-year-old.

His interest in politics was sparked around the 2016 elections as he watched the races closely, Vance said. He had a mentor around that time who pushed Vance to extend his political knowledge outside of a high school setting.

Scott Darby, Vance’s Advanced Placement American government and politics high school teacher, said Vance was always curious about political processes while he was in high school.

Darby said Vance would ask for additional readings outside of the curriculum as well as spark conversations about social issues.

“I always told my students that they needed to be involved because young people have the most to gain and lose because of political process,” Darby said. “I think Ryan took that to heart.”

He said it is not surprising that Vance is running for this position so early in his life. However, he thinks an obstacle Vance may experience is appealing to the rural voters in eastern Washington.

Vance said he will not be terribly distraught if he is not elected, but it is currently his largest ambition.

His backup plan is to get a master’s degree or join the United States Foreign Service, he said.

Other than the $527 filing fee for running, Vance said he has not determined campaigning costs. The filing date for his candidacy is May 11.