NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, June 10th, 2017

LIVE from Seattle: Who will succeed Jessyn Farrell? Democratic PCOs selecting nominees

Good morn­ing from Lake City. I’m here at the Seat­tle Men­non­ite Church, where the Demo­c­ra­t­ic precinct com­mit­tee offi­cers of the 46th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict are gath­ered to draw up a list of can­di­dates to suc­ceed Jessyn Far­rell, who recent­ly resigned from the state House to run for May­or of Seattle.

Washington's 46th legislative district

Wash­ing­ton’s 46th leg­isla­tive dis­trict encom­pass­es neigh­bor­hoods in north Seat­tle along with Lake For­est Park, Ken­more, and parts of Both­ell (Wash­ing­ton State Mapbook)

Because Jessyn has quit the leg­is­la­ture to focus on her may­oral can­di­da­cy, a vacan­cy now exists for state rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the 46th.

The Wash­ing­ton State Con­sti­tu­tion stip­u­lates that the process for fill­ing a Demo­c­ra­t­ic leg­isla­tive vacan­cy begins with the nam­ing of three can­di­dates from the same dis­trict and of the same par­ty by the Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Cen­tral Com­mit­tee (WSDCC) or the rel­e­vant coun­ty Demo­c­ra­t­ic cen­tral committee.

The WSDCC spec­i­fies in its bylaws that when a vacan­cy is declared, the coun­ty or state par­ty chair shall call a spe­cial nom­i­nat­ing cau­cus of precinct com­mit­tee offi­cers from that dis­trict for the pur­pose of draw­ing up a list of three names to rec­om­mend to the King Coun­ty Coun­cil for its consideration.

That’s what’s hap­pen­ing today. I will be updat­ing this post at peri­od­ic inter­vals to sum­ma­rize the pro­ceed­ings that are tak­ing place.

10:56 AM: Ini­tial cre­den­tial count shows 84 of 122 PCO’s present. The names of eight can­di­dates have been placed into nom­i­na­tion, sev­en of whom are present.

  • Nigel Her­big
  • Melis­sa Taylor
  • Javier Valdez
  • Lau­rie Lippold
  • Jill Geary
  • Lelach Reva
  • Olivi­er Ben­Haim (not present)
  • Bet­sy Walker

11:02 AM: The body is at ease until 12:00 noon and the can­di­date’s forum is underway.

All can­di­dates except Javier Valdez have pledged to sup­port the PCO’s top choice when the nom­i­nees go before the King Coun­ty Coun­cil for appoint­ment. Valdez is also the only can­di­date that stat­ed (by ‘YES’ card in a light­ning round) that he would run in 2018 if not appointed.

11:48 AM: After a 45-minute ques­tion and answer forum, in which there was much con­sen­sus, the can­di­dates are now min­gling with PCOs on the floor gar­ner­ing sup­port for the upcom­ing vote.

12:00 PM: King Coun­ty Democ­rats Chair Bai­ley Sto­ber has called the meet­ing back to order, draw­ing names at ran­dom from a box for can­di­dates or sur­ro­gates to make final statements.

In a calm, per­son­al speech, Lelah Reva tells the audi­ence she has a unique con­tent exper­tise among all leg­is­la­tors in Olympia. There are cur­rent­ly no physi­cians serv­ing in the leg­is­la­ture “where cru­cial health­care deci­sions are being made”.

For­mer 46th LD chair intro­duces Bet­sy Walk­er, tout­ing her dri­ve to do the work on the streets, includ­ing areas out­side of Seat­tle. Can­di­date Walk­er then lists her top pol­i­cy pri­or­i­ties includ­ing intro­duc­ing a car­bon tax and fam­i­ly sick leave.

Nigel Her­big, a Ken­more City Coun­cilmem­ber and for­mer Jessyn Far­rell Leg­isla­tive Assis­tant touts his sup­port from Far­rell and his accom­plish­ments at the local lev­el, declar­ing him­self the only can­di­date with a track record in elect­ed office and expe­ri­ence at the legislature.

A proxy is now speak­ing on behalf of Rab­bi Olivi­er Ben­Haim, who could not be present today.

Melis­sa Tay­lor, a soft­ware engi­neer and exec­u­tive and cit­i­zen lob­by­ist in Olympia. Calls her­self a cre­ative, resource­ful inno­va­tor. She cites her build­ing of a mul­ti-mil­lion dol­lar busi­ness for Dell in Asia, time as a cit­i­zen lob­by­ist in Olympia, and mother.

Jill Geary, a cur­rent Seat­tle School Board Direc­tor cites her strong edu­ca­tion back­ground at a time when edu­ca­tion pol­i­cy is of cen­tral focus at the leg­is­la­ture. Geary’s role on the Seat­tle School Board has also giv­en her expe­ri­ence work­ing on leg­is­la­tion in Olympia.

Javier Valdez is intro­duced by for­mer Con­gress­man Jim McDer­mott who sells the can­di­date as “not a showhorse- a work­horse.” Valdez tells his sto­ry as the son of farm work­ers from Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton and a prod­uct of pub­lic edu­ca­tion who has been ded­i­cat­ed to the 46th LD Democ­rats for years.

Lau­rie Lip­pold, intro­duces her­self as a long-time cit­i­zen activist involved with count­less pieces of leg­is­la­tion from incep­tion to imple­men­ta­tion. she has the rela­tion­ships and knows how to build bridges and consensus.

12:33 PM: The final cre­den­tial count shows 90 of 122 PCO’s present. Vot­ing by bal­lot begins now.

12:45 PM: The first vote count:

Javier Valdez — 35

Nigel Her­big — 20

Melis­sa Tay­lor — 15

Lau­rie Lip­pold — 11

Bet­sy Walk­er — 6

Jill Geary — 1

Lelach Reva — 1

Olivi­er Ben­Haim — 1

12:49 PM: The sec­ond round of vot­ing is now underway.

Javier Valdez is the top choice of the 46th LD PCO’s. The results of the run-off between the top two can­di­dates are as follows:

Javier Valdez — 51

Nigel Her­big — 38

12:56 PM: Vot­ing is now under­way to deter­mine the sec­ond and third ranked can­di­dates to send to the King Coun­ty Coun­cil for appointment.

1:03 PM: 86 bal­lots cast and no can­di­date received 50%+1, so we are now enter­ing anoth­er round of vot­ing between top two remain­ing can­di­dates, Nigel Her­big and Melis­sa Taylor.

1:08 PM: Melis­sa Tay­lor is the sec­ond ranked choice.

Melis­sa Tay­lor — 43

Nigel Her­big — 40 votes

Bal­lot­ing is now under­way for the 3rd and final nom­i­nee to send before the King Coun­ty Council.

1:16 PM: The third and final can­di­date to go before the King Coun­ty Coun­cil for appoint­ment will be Nigel Her­big, who received 45 of the 79 votes in the final round.

1:20 PM: The meet­ing is now adjourned. The final nom­i­nees to go before the King Coun­ty Coun­cil for appoint­ment to the state house are ranked as follows:

#1: Javier Valdez

#2: Melis­sa Taylor

#3: Nigel Herbig

Tay­lor and Her­big have pre­vi­ous­ly stat­ed they would sup­port the top choice of the PCO’s, so Valdez will like­ly face no oppo­si­tion when the nom­i­nees go before the council.

NPI con­grat­u­lates all three well-qual­i­fied can­di­dates on their nominations.

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