Jim Henderson: State Representative Candidate for the 26th District

Posted By: Corey Hjalseth Government,

Jim henderson is the state representative candidate for the 26th district I have had the pleasure of working with Jim during my time with RHAWA as he is deeply ingrained in rental housing policy in our state. He has been a housing provider since the mid 1990’s and for all that time has called the south sound home. 

Jim is well traveled throughout his life. Born in Portland Oregon, moving to a couple different cities in Texas, then to California and eventually landing in Federal Way for his adolescent years. After graduating high school Jim moved to Tacoma and purchased his first rental property in 1994. Through the years he methodically built a real estate portfolio, managed all his properties and started his business, Landlord Solutions, in 2001. 

In 2016 Jim became deeply involved in the first real update to the rental housing code in Tacoma in quite some time and really started lobbying local lawmakers without even realizing what he was doing was considered lobbying.

“I stayed involved in that entire process and lobbying without recognizing that I was lobbying.”

Jim became very involved with NARPM, the National Association of Residential Property Managers, and initially lobbied for them in Olympia free of charge to show the value of NARPM having a voice during legislative sessions. The very next year in 2018 Jim was hired by NARPM and registered as a lobbyist and has represented many housing-centric organizations in the years since.

I asked him why he wanted to run for the open seat in the 26th district after current State Representative Spencer Hutchins announced he would not seek reelection. 

“There are better ideas and not to say that we don’t hear some of those ideas, but I think that we don’t get to the better ideas quick enough,” Henderson said. “I believe that there are solutions to the problems, but I also want stakeholding to come back. I want to be working in the off session; stakeholding the issues even if we don’t have a bill. We know what the issues are going to be. We need a lawmaker and I want to be that person who goes to the Democrats and says: ‘Let’s put together a group. Let’s start working on this.”

A man stands in front of a sign that says elect jim hendersonHenderson seems to echo a common issue that many lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are feeling. This feeling is present in the other Washington as well, lawmakers can’t seem to work together to fix actual issues anymore. 

“I get so frustrated that we don’t spend enough time on the ‘why’. Why is somebody homeless? Ok, let’s talk about that because believe me, it’s not about affordability. Because even if rent was twenty-five dollars, they can’t afford the twenty-five dollars.” 

Jim also expressed great concern about the possibility of a potential Democratic supermajority after this year’s election and how this could affect every issue in our state being addressed with ideas from both sides. He ardently opposes rent control and hopes to work across the aisle to find better solutions to make housing more plentiful and more affordable in our state. 

“The supermajority will in no way incentivize the Democrats to sit down and to work with us and solve problems with us on any issues. Whether it's crime or homelessness or housing or transportation. They won’t need to and they don’t feel that they owe it to the process or to the bill,” He said. “You’re competing with the locals on their cost increases. When you have a licensing fee in Spokane that costs you a couple hundred dollars the first year out, that’s half of your rent increase, if not more. So, you’ve got rental licensing, you’ve got local levies and bonds. We don’t get to cap those or opt out of those. You don’t give us an allowance for those, but our residents are voting for those most likely, but they are not paying for that.”

Other issues of great importance to Henderson include public safety with some recent personal experience as he was the victim of a violent assault at gunpoint earlier this year.

“Feeling unsafe in your own community or also just the vandalism that’s happening to businesses. We see it in small businesses that are just barely making it. Then somebody breaks a window.”

Jim also feels passionate about education in our state, and he elaborated on his issues with funding education, but particularly funding special education to help children with special needs. 

“Statistically every district gets allotted a certain funding for special education at, I think it’s I want to say three percent. So, they say three percent of students need this, but if your school has a disproportionate amount of that there’s no additional funding. So, in my district, Bremerton has a disproportionate amount of high need kids and the primary reason for that is because the naval base there is one of two bases in the United States that the government sends families that have kids with high needs,” Henderson says. “I think we need to look at the funding model. The model is a regional model. Every district has an exception and when the exception is the norm it is no longer the exception. So, we need to move our funding model more locally.”

Jim now calls Gig Harbor home and spends time with his two sons Ethan and Jacob. He is also very passionate about his Catholic faith and sits on the boards for both St. Vicent de Paul and Next Chapter. His life of service leaves no one surprised that he decided to run for office to make a difference in the future of his community.