After speak­ing with all three of the can­di­dates nom­i­nat­ed last week by the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty to suc­ceed the late Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Roger Free­man, the King Coun­ty Coun­cil this after­noon unan­i­mous­ly vot­ed to back Car­ol Gre­go­ry (the par­ty’s first choice) to fill the vacan­cy in the 30th Leg­isla­tive District.

Because the 30th is a joint dis­trict span­ning two coun­ties (there are sev­en precincts in Pierce Coun­ty), the Coun­cil’s action today does not con­sti­tute an appoint­ment. Gre­go­ry will only take office when and if the Pierce Coun­ty Coun­cil concurs.

If it does not, the coun­ties would either have to rec­on­cile their dif­fer­ences some­how, or the mat­ter would be resolved by Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee once six­ty days have elapsed since the date the vacan­cy was created.

Coun­cilmem­bers Lar­ry Phillips, Rod Dem­bows­ki, Dave Upthe­grove, Lar­ry Gos­sett,  Joe McDer­mott, Rea­gan Dunn, Pete von Reich­bauer, and Kathy Lam­bert took part in the vote. Coun­cilmem­ber Jane Hague was absent.

Dur­ing the Q&A pri­or to the vote, coun­cilmem­bers asked a num­ber of ques­tions of the can­di­dates (Car­ol Gre­go­ry, Richard Cham­pi­on, and Shari Song). Some of the most point­ed and inter­est­ing ques­tions came from Pete von Reich­bauer, who asked about McCleary com­pli­ance, pos­si­ble light rail align­ment through the south coun­ty, and whether the can­di­dates would sup­port an income tax. Coun­cilmem­ber Kathy Lam­bert asked the can­di­dates if they knew the state’s per pupil spend­ing figures.

In many ways, Gre­go­ry was the obvi­ous and log­i­cal choice. She was the win­ner of the runoff for first place at the nom­i­nat­ing cau­cus (although only by one vote, and not all of the 30th’s PCOs par­tic­i­pat­ed). She has exten­sive pub­lic sec­tor expe­ri­ence and present­ly serves as a school board mem­ber in Fed­er­al Way, hav­ing been elect­ed to that posi­tion in 2013. And she is a knowl­edge­able speak­er. She grace­ful­ly and com­pe­tent­ly field­ed the ques­tions that were asked of her at the meeting.

If Pierce Coun­ty con­curs in the appoint­ment for each vacan­cy, Gre­go­ry would min­i­mal­ly serve through the end of next year. A spe­cial elec­tion to deter­mine Free­man’s elect­ed suc­ces­sor will be held con­cur­rent with the next gen­er­al elec­tion in 2015. Gre­go­ry has indi­cat­ed she would be a can­di­date in that spe­cial election.

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.

Adjacent posts