This just in from the King Coun­ty Cour­t­house: Min­utes ago, in a unan­i­mous 8–0 vote, the King Coun­ty Coun­cil chose attor­ney Rod Dem­bows­ki to suc­ceed Bob Fer­gu­son as the next Coun­cilmem­ber from the 1st Dis­trict (North Seat­tle, Shore­line, Lake For­est Park, Wood­inville, Both­ell, Ken­more, Kirkland).

Dem­bows­ki was one of three indi­vid­u­als named by King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine as final­ists for the posi­tion last month, the oth­ers being State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cindy Ryu and Shore­line City Coun­cilmem­ber Will Hall.

Dem­bows­ki, a forty-one year old lawyer at Fos­ter Pep­per, had the back­ing of Fer­gu­son (now our state’s attor­ney gen­er­al), a long list of com­mu­ni­ty lead­ers sup­port­ing him, and was the only can­di­date to earn either an endorse­ment or a rec­om­men­da­tion from each of the dis­tric­t’s leg­isla­tive dis­trict (LD) organizations.

As Coun­cilmem­ber Kathy Lam­bert put it in her final remarks pri­or to the appoint­ment vote, Rod “has friends everywhere”.

Dem­bows­ki was not the first choice of Coun­cilmem­bers Lar­ry Gos­sett, Jane Hague, or Lam­bert; how­ev­er, in the inter­est of uni­ty, they all vot­ed in favor of the motion to appoint him on final pas­sage. That made the vote that mat­tered 8–0. (The vote to advance Dem­bowski’s nom­i­na­tion was 5–3; Coun­cilmem­bers Phillips, McDer­mott, Pat­ter­son, Dunn, and von Reich­bauer were the ayes).

Dem­bows­ki was prompt­ly sworn in by the clerk of the King Coun­ty Coun­cil, Anne Noris. After his swear­ing in, the coun­cil adjourned to take a pho­to with its newest mem­ber. That pho­to is expect­ed to be pub­lished short­ly on

King Coun­ty Exec­u­tive Dow Con­stan­tine issued a state­ment prais­ing Dem­bows­ki and the two oth­er final­ists he named.

“I con­grat­u­late Coun­cilmem­ber Rod Dem­bows­ki on his appoint­ment as the new rep­re­sen­ta­tive of King Coun­ty Coun­cil Dis­trict One,” Con­stan­tine said. “I have known Coun­cilmem­ber Dem­bows­ki for many years and have admired his work as an activist, an attor­ney, and a com­mu­ni­ty vol­un­teer. Rod has worked in Coun­ty gov­ern­ment, as an aide to for­mer Exec­u­tive Gary Locke, has prac­ticed as a lawyer for a dozen years, and also brings a long record of pub­lic ser­vice to his new role.”

“I’d like to thank the mem­bers of the thir­teen-mem­ber Cit­i­zens Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee that helped me choose an extra­or­di­nary group of final­ists – Rod, State Rep. Cindy Ryu, and Shore­line City Coun­cilmem­ber Will Hall.”

“I salute the mem­bers of the King Coun­ty Coun­cil for their thought­ful con­sid­er­a­tion of these nom­i­nees and I thank them for their deci­sive and time­ly action to pro­vide excel­lent rep­re­sen­ta­tion to the peo­ple of the First Coun­cil District.”

We at NPI extend our con­grat­u­la­tions to Rod as well. The King Coun­ty Coun­cil is one of the most impor­tant elect­ed bod­ies in our region; it is the leg­is­la­ture for the state’s largest coun­ty, and its mem­bers often sit on oth­er region­al boards or com­mis­sions. All of the final­ists named by Exec­u­tive Con­stan­tine for the seat vacat­ed by Bob Fer­gu­son were strong progressives.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the appoint­ment could go to only one of the three.

I per­son­al­ly believe the Coun­cil has made a very wise deci­sion. Rod will be a nat­ur­al suc­ces­sor to Bob Fer­gu­son — he brings ener­gy and tal­ent to the job, as well as a deep under­stand­ing of region­al and local issues, as I not­ed to the Seat­tle Post-Intel­li­gencer’s Joel Con­nel­ly ear­li­er today.

Rod has made it crys­tal clear he will be run­ning to retain the seat. Cindy Ryu’s cam­paign team has indi­cat­ed she would con­tin­ue to seek the posi­tion if she was not appoint­ed, but since she is a state leg­is­la­tor, she will be unable to raise mon­ey or cam­paign full time until the ses­sion ends. (State law pro­hibits elect­ed lead­ers at the state lev­el from rais­ing mon­ey dur­ing a leg­isla­tive session).

Rod, on the oth­er hand, will be able to keep rais­ing mon­ey and will like­ly see a new influx of dona­tions now that he has been appointed.

The third final­ist, Will Hall, has pre­vi­ous­ly sug­gest­ed he would not be inter­est­ed in chal­leng­ing either of the oth­er final­ists for the job if he did not get the appointment.

UPDATE: Will Hall has not ruled out run­ning against Rod for the seat this August. In a mes­sage sent to his sup­port­ers, he said:

Over the next few days, I will be talk­ing with fam­i­ly, friends, and sup­port­ers to eval­u­ate my options.  It has been an hon­or to serve as an elect­ed coun­cilmem­ber for the City of Shore­line, and it would cer­tain­ly be an hon­or to win a seat on the King Coun­ty Coun­cil.  Either way, I remain com­mit­ted to rep­re­sent­ing my com­mu­ni­ty with my val­ues of trust, respect, and ser­vice.  I will con­tin­ue to work for the health and sus­tain­abil­i­ty of our econ­o­my, our envi­ron­ment, and our neighborhoods.

No doubt Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ryu is eval­u­at­ing her options as well. If either of them decide to run, we’ll let you know.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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3 replies on “King County Council appoints Rod Dembowski to succeed Bob Ferguson in 1st District”

  1. The vote was NOT unan­i­mous, it was 5–3 for Dem­bows­ki, with Lar­ry Gos­sett, Kathy Lam­bert, and Jane Hague vot­ing against the appoint­ment of Dem­bows­ki — there was a roll call vote.

    Where do you peo­ple get your infor­ma­tion? This meet­ing was stream­ing live on KCTV, any­one could fact check the exact results, it will play again on cable TV or from the King Coun­ty website.

    1. As we report­ed, the final vote was indeed unan­i­mous for Rod Dem­bows­ki. You claim to have been watch­ing King Coun­ty Tele­vi­sion, so you should have seen what we saw. Did you not see the final vote? 

      The roll call vote pri­or the final vote was the 5–3 vote. The post accu­rate­ly notes that Rod was not the first choice of Lar­ry, Kathy, or Jane. 

      Next time, please read care­ful­ly before com­plain­ing that we got our facts wrong.

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