(The Center Square) – Initial results show the incumbent Pierce County District 2 Councilmember Paul Herrera holding his seat over Challenger Jamie Smith with 54% of initial votes.

Herrera previously served as a police sergeant for the Puyallup Tribe for over 20 years before being selected by the Pierce County Council to take over the District 2 seat in August 2022.

Herrera has touted his experience in the military and law enforcement in taking on civil rights and public safety issues. The incumbent councilmember’s top five issues include keeping taxes low, addressing homelessness and addiction, advocating for strong safety measures, focusing on infrastructure needs, and serving the interests of Pierce County residents.

Smith currently teaches at Rogers High School in Puyallup. She is also on the Executive Board of the Puyallup Education Association. Smith’s top six issues include education, healthcare, the environment, transportation, taxes and the economy.

Both candidates emphasized lower taxes as part of their campaign for the District 2 seat. Herrera said on his campaign website that keeping taxes low allows people to spend and invest their money and keeps costs of services and products lower and more accessible for people of all incomes.

Smith believes Washington state relies too heavily on regressive taxes, like sales tax, which she says unfairly punishes the poor and working class. The District 2 candidate states on her campaign website that the county council must work with all stakeholders to create a more equitable tax system that works without continuing to raise local sales and property taxes.

Pierce County Council District 2 includes the Cities of Puyallup, South Hill, Summit View, Sumner, Edgewood, Milton, and Pacific.

All of Washington state held a vote-by-mail election this year, with the deadline to turn in ballots at 8 P.M. Nov. 7.