U.S. House, WA-06 – Hilary Franz

Legislative Questionnaire

Candidate Info

Candidate Name:   Hilary Franz
Position Sought:    U.S. House, WA-06
Are you an incumbent for this position?    Non-incumbent
Home Legislative District:    LD 24
Are you a Democrat?    Yes

Campaign Info

Campaign Manager or Point of Contact:    Eve Zhurbinskiy
Website:    hilaryfranz.com
Facebook:    https://www.facebook.com/electhilaryfranz
Twitter:    https://twitter.com/hilaryfranz

Part I – Candidate Background

1. Please briefly describe your qualifications, education, employment, community and civic activity, union affiliation, prior political activity, and other relevant experience. Beyond your qualifications, what makes you the best candidate for this position or office? Please describe any specific background or unique perspective you offer and how those will help you accomplish your goals for the position sought. If possible, give practical examples.


I’m a lifelong Democrat and have been a public servant since 2008. I have served as a PCO in the 23rd LD, as a Bainbridge Island City Councilmember, and as Washington state’s Commissioner of Public Lands since 2017.

My entire career has been focused on working to create a more just and fair society and advancing our shared values. Both as a candidate and an elected official, I have championed Democratic Party values. I have traveled the state, knocking on doors, manning booths, speaking at and raising money for the State Democratic Party, LDs and County Democratic groups along with local, state and federal candidates. This includes helping other Democrats up and down the ballot get elected. In 2017, I launched my Win With Women initiative to support Democratic women candidates by providing mentoring and financial support, including hosting fundraisers for three dozen Democratic women running for office in our state up and down the ballot.

My roots run deep in the 6th CD. My grandparents came to Pierce County in 1938 where they were cattle ranchers and small business owners. My sister and I were raised by a single father, a public servant who took great pride in serving his community. I remember my father struggling with finding childcare, so I spent much time after school and on weekends in the city hall and fire hall where he worked. It was there I learned the value of service, dedication, purpose, and that progress comes from working together and putting people first, inspiring me to a career in public service.

I put myself through college, taking out student loans and working as a hotel worker, a caregiver for children and adults with disabilities, a rape crisis counselor, and a community mental health counselor. Every day, I saw the struggles people experienced feeding their families, finding child care and adult care, and ensuring safety and providing care to our most vulnerable.

Following in the footsteps of my grandparents, I raised my three boys and cared for my father with early onset dementia on a small farm in Kitsap County. On the farm, I instilled in my boys the same lessons that were instilled in me: to treat others as we want to be treated, to take care of our lands and waters and it will take care of you, and to believe that our greatest potential is unlocked by building each other up, not by tearing each other down.

I served as a Bainbridge Island City Councilmember from 2008-2011. While on the Council, I wrote and passed nationally recognized green building affordable housing ordinance, secured state and federal funding for critical green infrastructure investments, expanded investments in multi-modal transportation, wrote and passed a critical areas ordinance, and launched Repower Bainbridge, Repower Bremerton, and Repower Kitsap – a nationally recognized energy efficiency program – in the midst of the Great Recession to help train unemployed/ underemployed construction workers in energy efficiency assessments and retrofits, while also helping thousands of homeowners save on energy bills.

I served as Executive Director from 2011-2016 of Futurewise, a statewide nonprofit where I helped secure the largest investment in state history in roads, ferries, transit and multimodal transportation; developed local and state affordable housing policies; developed the state’s first Equity Atlas; and protected thousands of miles of critical fish and wildlife habitat and hundreds of thousands of acres of agricultural and forest lands across the state.

I also practiced environmental and land use law for over 20 years, securing significant wins at the Washington State Supreme Court and Court of Appeals for fish and wildlife habitat, shoreline management and restoration and natural resources protection.

And I have served on the Washington State Climate Action Team, Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council, Puget Sound Regional Council Growth Management Board, Puget Sound Regional Economic Board, Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Board and the Puget Sound Regional Council Transportation Futures Task Force.

As Commissioner of Public Lands, I have shown my ability to bring people together and build strong coalitions to secure major investments and policies that strengthen our communities and protect our lands and waters, including building the largest clean energy projects and passing unanimously House Bill 1168, which secured the largest ever investment of $500M in wildfire response, forest restoration, and community resilience. I have transformed the way we respond to wildfires and other natural disasters. I have also secured hundreds of millions of dollars at the state and federal level for transportation, forest restoration and protection, urban sustainability, climate resilience, recreation, fish and wildlife habitat restoration and conservation. And I have developed and passed critical legislation to enable the agency I lead to develop affordable and workforce housing on our state-owned residential lands, and we are now developing affordable workforce housing in Tacoma, Lacey, Forks and other cities in the state.

Voters want their next congressmember to have significant professional experience while also having relevant lived experience. Our lived experience shapes our perspectives – our ability to walk in another’s shoes and show empathy, and our priorities – what we are passionate about and will never give up fighting for. I’ve been through many of the experiences and faced many of the challenges families face today. I know what it’s like to not know where you will sleep, moving from one friend’s home to another, to work two jobs to pay for college, to have family members struggling with mental health. I know how hard it is to find affordable child care while, at the same time, caring for a father with dementia. And I intimately know how important reproductive freedom is.

I am committed to working tirelessly to ensure no one is left behind – from restoring abortion rights nationwide, to ensuring every person has a roof over their head and wages that keep up with the cost of living, to providing our children, workers and veterans the educational and training opportunities they need to succeed.      

All of these experiences – executive, legislative and legal, working across issues, at all levels of government, building strong relationships with stakeholders, and growing my issue expertise – will help me hit the ground running on Day One in Congress. This is critical because we don’t have time to waste when it comes to addressing our greatest social, environmental, and economic challenges.

2. What prompted you to run for this office?

The challenges we face go past our state’s borders, and so too must our solutions. As I’ve worked across every part of this district and this state, I’ve seen the urgent challenges we face and heard the same fears. I meet hardworking people struggling to get by, with stagnant wages and higher costs for healthcare, housing and childcare. I hear their fears about the direction we’re headed in, with threats to our democracy and attacks on reproductive freedom. And I see the impacts of a rapidly changing climate in every community and on our lands and waters.

To address these challenges, we need a leader who is ready for this moment. Voters want a congress member with a robust and ambitious vision for the future who isn’t afraid to roll up their sleeves, set big goals, solve long-standing problems, pass big laws and secure big investments, and work hard to accomplish that vision. And voters want a leader who on Day One has the experience to lead on these most pressing issues.

That’s why I’m running for Congress – to bring bold, transformative leadership that will address the threat of climate change, respond to our housing crisis, lower costs for working families, address our mental health crisis, invest in child care and education, increase economic opportunity and good-paying jobs, and stand up for our democracy and reproductive rights.

We need to get Congress and this economy working again – for all of us, not just the few. We need bold progress, and we don’t have time to waste.  

The people who know my values and my record are supporting my campaign. I’m proud to have the endorsements of both Congressman Derek Kilmer and former Congressman Norm Dicks.

I’m proud to be endorsed by the National Organization of Women, Democrats Serve, Washington Fire Chiefs, and 30 labor unions, a list which is growing everyday – from the firefighters that protect our communities (including Tacoma Firefighters IAFF Local 31 and East Pierce County Firefighters Local 3520) to the trades building our schools, hospitals and clean energy future, including the Pierce County Building & Construction Trades Council.

I’m honored to have 13 Tribes supporting my campaign, including the Puyallup Tribe.

And I’ve earned the endorsements of community leaders across the district, including Tacoma Mayor Victoria Woodards and the mayors of Bremerton, Poulsbo, and Aberdeen.

In Pierce County, I also have been endorsed by County Councilmember Ryan Mello, County Councilmember Marty Campbell, former County Executive John Ladenburg, Rep. Jake Fey, and many more.

3. What are your campaign’s most important themes, issues, or priorities (three to five)? Share issues or priorities specific to the office that you’re running for.

Housing: Every corner of the 6th CD is facing a housing crisis. Too many of our friends and neighbors are struggling to pay the rent or mortgage, experience housing insecurity, or are homeless. This must be a top priority for all local, state, and federal leaders. This issue is deeply personal to me. I experienced housing instability in my own life. At times growing up, I had to sleep on couches as my family moved from place to place. I know the impacts this has on a person’s mental, physical, and emotional health – especially a child’s.

That’s why I have passed critical laws to build affordable housing on residential zoned public lands. And we have been working with local government organizations and nonprofits, including Tacoma Housing Authority and Habitat for Humanity, to build affordable and workforce housing on state-managed residential zoned public lands. In Congress, I will have even more ability to address our housing shortage and ensure everyone has a roof over their head and a place to call home. I will make increasing housing security, reducing homelessness, and housing-for-all a top priority – and we will deploy every tool at our disposal.

Economic Opportunity: Across the 6th CD, too many are struggling with the high cost of housing, childcare, healthcare and basic needs along with underemployment, stagnant wages, and job insecurity. I have worked throughout the district to protect thousands of jobs in wood products, maritime, and food production while also creating thousands of jobs in new clean technologies, sustainable wood products, education, natural resource conservation, and transportation. I have also developed and launched workforce development and apprenticeship programs to create the workforce we need today and in the future.

In Congress, I will continue this innovative work to grow good-paying jobs and strengthen our rural and urban economies, always standing by our unions and fighting to pass the PRO Act; supporting veterans and military families; building more housing, including affordable and workforce housing; providing accessible, affordable childcare; growing workforce development and apprenticeship programs; and increasing job opportunities and fighting to lower costs for working families. By putting more money in the pockets of workers and families, we also create more customers for local businesses, more spending in our communities, and we grow our economy from the middle-out.

Abortion and Reproductive Freedom: Nothing is more important than an individual’s health and the right to control your own body. In the two years since the Supreme Court rolled back our rights, we’ve seen attacks on reproductive freedom in states all over the country, including in neighboring Idaho, where women are forced to come across the border for safe healthcare. As a woman who marched in DC to protect women’s reproductive freedom and was fortunate to have affordable, accessible healthcare when I needed an emergency D&C in my early twenties, I will fight every day to restore federal protection for abortion rights and the full spectrum of reproductive care for women and families. Congress needs to restore reproductive freedom and ensure every woman, no matter what state she lives in, has the right to a safe, affordable abortion and reproductive healthcare. We also must protect access to reproductive healthcare from the impacts of hospital mergers, especially in rural communities. The 6th CD faces significant challenges in having too few healthcare options available to our rural communities, and I will make it a top priority to ensure accessible, affordable healthcare for all.

Transportation: The 6th CD is facing significant transportation challenges, from a struggling ferry system to the need to invest in safe, efficient transportation infrastructure. As someone who spent almost two decades relying on our ferry system to get to and from work, I have worked to secure billions in funding for our ferries. I have also worked to secure significant state and federal investment in our roads, highways, public transit, and bridges. I will continue Rep. Kilmer’s leadership and work to secure investments in our ferries and critical pedestrian, road, transit and bridge infrastructure. These investments support our economy — both through ensuring people can commute to work and school in other communities, but also supporting transportation workers and trade workers in industries (like electric charging stations) boosted by federal spending.

Military and Veterans Affairs: Supporting our military families and veterans is a top priority for this district. I will continue to support our military, their families, and our military investments. I understand the importance of the Shipyard Infrastructure Optimization Program (SIOP) mission not only for our security, but also for the economic importance of supporting our military and civilian workers and mitigating geological risks. We must continue our focus and commitment to completing this project to execute the Navy’s once-in-a-century investment to reconfigure, modernize and optimize our four aging naval shipyards into new modern facilities that will serve our Nation into the future.

I am also committed to making sure we support our military families and fulfill our promise to care for our veterans long after they return home from duty. I will always fight for increased benefits, housing assistance, veterans health care services and support, and I will continue on work I have done to help increase education opportunities, expand employment, and address mental and physical trauma service members may experience.

Climate Change: The 6th Congressional District is already experiencing the negative impacts of the climate crisis, including coastal erosion that is requiring us to move communities like Ocean Shores and Quinault Nation out of harm's way; increasing floods and wildfires in Pierce, Kitsap, Jefferson, Clallam, Grays Harbor and Mason counties that we have been responding to; annual drought that is stressing our forests and farmlands and water resources; and ocean acidification resulting in die off of critical marine ecosystems in Puget Sound, Hood Canal and our coast and harming our shellfish industry.

As Lands Commissioner, I have been leading the fight to combat our climate crisis throughout the 6th CD and help our lands, waters and communities become more resilient to our changing climate. In Congress, I will bring my 30 year experience and expertise developing policies and programs and investing in climate strategies that adapt to climate change, building sustainable infrastructure, innovations, and jobs, while lowering costs for consumers through greater efficiencies.

4. What steps are you taking to run a successful campaign?

This is a critical election facing our country. In order to make progress on our most pressing issues, Democrats must retake the House. That means we cannot afford to lose seats anywhere, including right here in the 6th District. This campaign is demonstrating that I’m the strongest Democratic candidate in the race, and the candidate best positioned to keep this seat blue.

First, my campaign is grassroots and broad based. Money is an important part of a campaign, but you also need energy and boots on the ground. That’s why I am so honored that people who live and work in the 6th District are overwhelmingly supporting my candidacy. I’ve been a part of this district, and delivered for this district, for decades.

My long-history of service in the 6th CD at the local and state level is the reason I have broad support from local, state and federal leaders from the district. I am endorsed by the incumbent Congressman for this seat, Rep. Derek Kilmer, and his predecessor, former Rep. Norm Dicks.

I am also endorsed by a long list of other leaders across the 6th CD. This broad range of support will ensure we have boots on the ground to knock doors and turn out the vote.

I am proud to be the labor candidate in this race. I made it my mission to be the most pro-labor Commissioner of Public Lands in history – and I delivered. Under my leadership, and for the first time in the history of the Department of Natural Resources, construction projects on public lands now require project labor agreements (PLAs) to ensure strong safety standards and lift up communities. I also utilized labor peace clauses, such as at the Edgewater Hotel, to ensure that workers were given the opportunity to negotiate strong collective bargaining agreements. And I have shown up and utilized the bully pulpit, from walking the picket line with striking teachers to speaking at rallies for striking electrical workers.

My record and values are why my campaign is overwhelmingly supported by labor unions. Already, I am endorsed by 30 unions. In contrast, my opponents combined have only been endorsed by four.

My campaign is also supported by the Tribal nations that care so deeply about our lands, waters, and communities. I am proud to have the support of 13 Tribes, including the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, the Makah Tribe, the Puyallup Tribe, and the Suquamish Tribe. I have 13 times as many Tribal endorsements as my opponents combined. Tribes recognize that I am the climate justice candidate and that I will be a tireless advocate at the national level to address climate change and strengthen our lands and communities.

I am also proudly endorsed by the National Organization for Women, National Women’s Political Caucus, Democrats Serve, and Washington Fire Chiefs.

And I am the gun safety candidate in this race. I am the first non-incumbent candidate in the state to be recognized by Moms Demand, the nation’s largest grassroots group advocating for gun safety, as a Gun Sense Candidate. In contrast, my Democratic opponent is one of only 3 Democrats in the legislature who voted against banning untraceable ghost guns.

Our fundraising advantage is clear. Campaigns are expensive, especially in the Seattle media market. In order to win, we need a candidate with the resources to fight Republican attacks. On that front, thanks to our broad base of support, we are setting fundraising records.

Through the end of Q1, we raised $820k, a fundraising record in this district through two quarters. In Q4, we set a fundraising record: raising $404,000 in just 7 weeks, the highest ever Q4 total in this district. In Q1, we set another record: $415,000. Through six months, I have outraised my closest opponent by 55%.

Finally, as a statewide elected official, I am the only candidate in this race who has appeared on every 6th District voter’s ballot twice – giving me an additional edge against my opponents.

Part II –  Yes or No Questions, please qualify your response if necessary

1. Do you support steps to build a fairer economy through tax reform, including a wealth tax?    Choose Not To Answer
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #1    I support progressive revenue and ensuring that billionaires and corporations pay their fair share. There are many different mechanisms to do that, a wealth tax being one of them. I am interested in exploring a wide-range of options to create a fair tax system.
2. Do you support the right of public workers, excluding military, to bargain and strike?    Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #2    
3. Do you support legalizing multi-unit homes statewide, as proposed in the #Homes4WA bill, to help alleviate the affordable housing crisis?     Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #3    
4. Do you support legislation to address climate change and protect our environment, including the Keep Washington Evergreen Act?    Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #4    Yes, I support the Keep Washington Evergreen Act. It was my signature bill and my vision for us to work to restore 1 million acres of forests, reforest 1 million acres of forests and conserve 1 million acres of forests to keep the Evergreen state Evergreen. We have made significant progress on the 1 million acres restored–indeed, we are halfway to our goal in just six years. We have made some progress on the other two goals, but we need to pass this Act to secure the critical policies and investments to get us there.
5. Do you support women’s unrestricted access to reproductive healthcare?     Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #5    
6. Do you support achieving a universal, affordable, quality single payer healthcare program?     Choose Not To Answer
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #6    We need all options on the table. I believe that every American should have access to high quality, affordable health care. No one should ever be one medical emergency away from bankruptcy. No one should ever have to make the choice between paying for life-saving treatment or medication instead of putting food on the table or heating their home.

Having worked in a community health crisis clinic, I know firsthand how families struggle when people can’t access the care they need to get better. And having been diagnosed nine years ago with a rare autoimmune disease, I also know the high costs of prescription drugs and medical care costs.

In Congress, I will stand up to Big Pharma and fight to lower prescription drug costs; expand mental health care; boost Medicare reimbursement rates and Medicare dental, vision, and hearing coverage; and create more options for opioid treatment to heal our communities that desperately need help. I understand the challenges that our rural communities face with long drives to understaffed hospitals and urgent care facilities. That’s why I will work to keep rural hospitals open and ensure they have the resources they need.

And I will always fight to ensure that a woman’s health care decisions remain between her and her doctor and that abortion care is safe, legal, and accessible to all who need it.
7. Do you support laws regulating the purchase, ownership, and carrying of firearms?     Yes
Optional: Qualify Your Response to #7    I am the first non-incumbent candidate in this state to be recognized by Moms Demand Action, the nation’s largest grassroots group advocating for gun safety, as a Gun Sense Candidate. In contrast, my Democratic opponent is one of only 3 Democrats in the legislature who voted against banning untraceable ghost guns.

Part III – Free Response (Please answer at least four questions fully, consider the remaining three optional)

1. Why are you running as a Democrat? What aspects of the Democratic platform most resonate with you?

I believe fundamentally that the government can be a force to create a more just, fair, and prosperous society, values which are reflected in the Democratic Party. We believe in taking action to correct injustices and lift up the disadvantaged. To create inclusive and welcoming communities and provide care to our neighbors when they are in need. To ensure that everyone has the dignity of a good job that pays enough to support themselves and their families. These values also reflect my priorities: the need for climate action, living wages and union rights, universal health care, a good education, a safe and affordable home for all, and reproductive freedom.

I also greatly appreciate that the Democratic party is a big tent. We recognize the inherent value in each of us, and that our diversity is our greatest strength – in our policymaking, our democracy, and our economy. That diversity forces us to have difficult conversations at times, but also allows us to be bridge and table builders.

2. What important state and local issues have you worked on (or taken an interest in) that you feel aren’t getting enough attention from elected leaders and the media?

Housing: I’ve traveled to every corner of this state and seen the increased cost of housing and the housing shortage everywhere – not just in Spokane and Seattle, but Forks, Aberdeen, Auburn and Enumclaw. This is a crisis, and we need solutions to rapidly build housing units across the housing needs spectrum.

I’ve also experienced housing instability in my own life. At times growing up, I had to sleep on coaches as my family moved from place to place. This is deeply personal to me, as I know how challenging it is to not have a safe, healthy, and affordable home – especially for children.

As a land use attorney, former city council member, and former Executive Director of Futurewise, I have pushed for increased density in our urban areas, especially near transit and basic services. As a local government official and nonprofit Executive Director, I wrote critical local and state affordable housing legislation. Addressing our land use policies is critical to increasing housing and protecting our natural resource lands, waters, and fish and wildlife habitat.

As Commissioner of Public Lands, I have demonstrated my commitment to this priority by – for the first time in DNR’s history – pushing our agency to build housing on public lands. As Commissioner, I manage 6 million acres of public land. This includes land in urban and suburban areas like Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, Silverdale, Bothel, Bellingham, Forks, Aberdeen, Tri-Cities, etc. However, this land had never been utilized for housing. That has changed under my leadership.

We are currently pushing new initiatives that are building affordable housing in Pierce, Kitsap, Clallam, King, and Spokane Counties, including workforce CLT housing in Forks. And we have passed two critical pieces of legislation to make it all possible.

Ensuring everyone has a safe, healthy, and affordable home has been a lifelong commitment of mine. It will continue to be when I am in Congress.

3. What legislative reforms do you support to achieve greater equity and inclusion for BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ individuals in our communities?

4. What are some obstacles inherent in proposed legislative solutions to climate change? How would you approach those obstacles in order to best overcome or minimize any negative effects?

First, we must have the desire – and courage – to have the political will to do what’s necessary. Reducing carbon emissions and transitioning to a clean energy future will meet resistance that is inherent whenever great social change occurs. I am the only leader in this race who is committed to urgent climate action, giving over 30 years to working to protect our natural resources and fish and wildlife habitat, investing and developing climate sequestration and storage solutions, and building climate resilience throughout Washington. I have done this in a way that creates critical jobs, ensures a just transition for workers, and protects our environment. For over 12 years, I have written and passed critical state climate legislation with bipartisan support. In Congress, I will work tirelessly to do what’s necessary to tackle our children’s greatest threat: climate change.

As Commissioner of Public Lands, I made DNR a nationwide leader when it comes to protecting our lands, waters and communities from climate change and building climate resilience. We are, for the first time, building clean wind and solar power on public lands. We are protecting and expanding carbon sequesters like high-ecological forest via a first-in–the-nation carbon project and other conservation tools, and reintroducing kelp and eelgrass meadows through a Kelp Protection Initiative and the largest aquatic easement in the country along Hood Canal. We’re protecting our iconic salmon and orca by banning commercial net-pens and removing culverts to restore thousands of miles of salmon habitat. We developed the state’s first-ever Plan for Climate Resilience and hired the state’s first Chief Resilience Officer. And, in the face of a forest health crisis, we developed the first Forest Health Strategic Plan that has led to us restoring the health of more than 600,000 acres of state, federal, private, and tribal land, making Washington a model for the nation.

This is the innovation and leadership I have brought to my role as Commissioner of Public Lands. I will bring this same energy and commitment to Congress.

5. What safety, law, or justice reforms are you currently in favor of, and how will you work to implement them?

6. What steps do you think need to be taken to improve voter turnout and increase voter trust in our election process?

First, it’s important to recognize the important progress our state has made and how we’re a leader in protecting and expanding voting rights, from paid postage, to impact statements on initiatives that cut funding for critical programs, to automatic restoration of voting rights for formerly incarcerated people.

These have been hugely positive steps, and I think Washington can continue to be a leader for the nation by expanding our automatic voter registration laws, addressing unequal curing rates for ballots cast by Latino voters who are more likely to have their signatures questioned and less likely to have their ballots fixed, and continuing to strengthen Washington’s Voting Rights Act to ensure that any proposed legislation pertaining to voting won’t have a disproportionate impact on voting rights or access to voting for people of color, similar to provisions that used to be included in the federal Voting Rights Act. In Congress, I will co-sponsor the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

7. Do you think public schools are adequately funded? If not, what minimum requirements should be met in an adequately funded public school system? What specific forms of taxation would you support to attain that funding?

Printed Name    Hilary Franz
Date (mm/dd/yy)    05/01/2024

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