COVID restrictions put her business at risk, now she’s running for governor

Mar 20, 2023, 12:18 PM | Updated: 2:59 pm

Wheat Khan...

Laurel Wheat Khan, the owner of Mackinaw’s in Chehalis, has announced she's running for governor. (Courtesy of Mackinaws on Facebook)

(Courtesy of Mackinaws on Facebook)

A bold restaurateur now has even bigger goals.

Laurel Wheat Khan, the owner of Mackinaw’s in Chehalis, has announced she’s running for governor. She and her restaurant previously made waves when she decided to stay open during the pandemic, costing her the establishment’s liquor license in the process.

From the Dori Monson Archives: Mandate defiant Chehalis restaurant owner claims LCB agents recently raided Mackinaw’s

“I was a leader for this area,” Wheat Khan told The Jason Rantz Show on AM 770 KTTH. “People needed to [know] that what was going on didn’t make common sense.”

The state revoked the restaurant’s liquor license in Dec. 2021. Wheat Khan claimed to be the only business in the state to lose a liquor license, all because she did not want to give up her livelihood.

“The impetus is when government overreach comes into small business into people’s lives, and to see the destruction of what happened with our policies, much in Washington state, as opposed to many other states,” Wheat Khan said. “I just knew it was wrong.”

She chose to stand up for what she believed was right and was punished by the state for it. So it is rather obvious why Wheat Khan is seeking to bring change to Olympia.

State statute notes, “in cases of repeated violations, a liquor license can be revoked by action of the three-member Liquor and Cannabis Board. Officers look at the past two years of the business’ violation history when determining a recommended penalty.”

Records show that the State Liquor and Cannabis Board generally reaches a settlement with businesses that violate the regulations. This comes in the form of a temporary license suspension for a few days or a monetary fine that typically does not exceed $5,000.

Mackinaw’s has not received any sort of resolution. The restaurant continues to operate, but cannot sell any alcohol. Cooking sherry is just about the only thing without a reinstatement of license.

“I’m definitely running as a business owner, not as a politician,” Wheat Khan told the Jason Rantz Show on AM 770 KTTH.

Wheat Khan has an opportunity to make an impact even with a campaign that will have her pitted as an underdog. Advocacy for the rights of local business owners is extremely important, given the issues they have faced in recent years.

“We have a plan too because I have to be funded, in large part to look credible, which is kind of a sad way of running campaigns,” Wheat Khan said.

King County Executive Dow Constantine won’t run for WA governor

The ballot for governor in 2024 is still very much in the air. Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier was tabbed to be one of the top candidates for governor on the Republican side. However, he recently told KIRO Newsradio he doesn’t plan on running.

The Republicans are looking for a strong candidate to make an impact in Olympia. Wheat Khan is someone who will fight for what she believes is right. Even if her campaign is considered a longshot — expect her to make some noise.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3 – 7 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (or HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here.

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COVID restrictions put her business at risk, now she’s running for governor