NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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

Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

Meet the Democrats joining the Washington State Legislature on January 14th, 2019

Editor’s Note: This is the first of two install­ments intro­duc­ing the peo­ple join­ing the Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture next Mon­day.

On Jan­u­ary 14th, 2019, the Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture will offi­cial­ly con­vene for its one hun­dred and five day long ses­sion with many new mem­bers and even stronger Demo­c­ra­t­ic majori­ties. Democ­rats will have a major­i­ty of twen­ty-eight in the Sen­ate and a major­i­ty of fifty-sev­en in the House. The par­ty ulti­mate­ly flipped three seats in the Sen­ate and sev­en in the House in the Novem­ber midterms.

Here is a com­pendi­um of the Democ­rats about to join the Leg­is­la­ture:

In the House

Lisa Callan — 5th Dis­trict

Lisa Callan unseat­ed Repub­li­can Paul Graves in Novem­ber as part of the blue wave that swept through King Coun­ty. The dis­trict bor­ders Kit­ti­tas Coun­ty on the east, the 31stLD to the south, parts of Maple Val­ley, Ren­ton, and Issaquah to the west, as well as Sno­homish Coun­ty to the north.

Callan believes her mix of pro­fes­sion­al work expe­ri­ence, moth­er­hood and ser­vice in her com­mu­ni­ty will make her a suc­cess­ful leg­is­la­tor for her dis­trict.

Callan is a school board direc­tor and appro­pri­ate­ly has been cho­sen as a mem­ber of the House Edu­ca­tion Com­mit­tee for 2019–2020. She also cam­paigned on the need for a more inclu­sive econ­o­my, qual­i­ty and afford­able health­care, com­pre­hen­sive gun safe­ty laws, and bet­ter region­al trans­porta­tion.

Bill Ramos –  5th Dis­trict

Bill Ramos will be Lisa Callan’s seat­mate for at least the next two years.

He is a small busi­ness own­er based in Issaquah and out­go­ing mem­ber of the Issaquah City Coun­cil, as well as Issaquah’s Eco­nom­ic Vital­i­ty Com­mis­sion, the Plan­ning and Pol­i­cy Com­mis­sion and on the Issaquah Human Ser­vice Com­mis­sion.

Ramos ran on a plat­form that empha­sized increas­ing trans­paren­cy and account­abil­i­ty in state gov­ern­ment, as well as strong­ly sup­port­ing pub­lic schools and tack­ling traf­fic issues. He suc­ceeds Repub­li­can Jay Rodne, who announced in Feb­ru­ary he would not be seek­ing re-elec­tion for the seat he held since 2004. Ramos will be a mem­ber of the Trans­porta­tion Com­mit­tee for 2019–2020.

Dave Paul – 10th Dis­trict

Dave Paul will take over for Repub­li­can Dave Hayes in the 10th Dis­trict, a swing dis­trict that includes all of Island Coun­ty, the north­west­ern tip of Sno­homish Coun­ty, and the south­west­ern part of Skag­it Coun­ty. Cities in the dis­trict include Oak Har­bor, Coupeville, Lan­g­ley, Mount Ver­non, La Con­ner, and Stan­wood.

Paul’s resume includes serv­ing as Vice Pres­i­dent of Skag­it Val­ley Col­lege, where he has worked with vet­er­ans, first-gen­er­a­tion stu­dents, DREAM­ers, stu­dents with dis­abil­i­ties, dis­placed home­mak­ers and non-tra­di­tion­al stu­dents.

He is an advo­cate for ser­vice­mem­bers and vet­er­ans, as well as for pro­tect­ing Washington’s envi­ron­ment and increas­ing afford­able col­lege edu­ca­tion.

Mari Leav­itt – 28th Dis­trict

We cov­ered Mari Leavitt’s race here on The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate back in the autumn. Leav­itt suc­ceeds Repub­li­can Dick Muri. She pre­vi­ous­ly ran for the same posi­tion back in 2016, los­ing the elec­tion with only 47.9% of the vote. This time, she cam­paigned strong­ly on the need for men­tal health care reform and fund­ing, as well as sup­port­ing vet­er­ans and address­ing the hous­ing cri­sis.

The 28th is in Pierce Coun­ty and con­tains a few Taco­ma neigh­bor­hoods, as well as the cities of Fir­crest, Uni­ver­si­ty Place, Lake­wood, Steila­coom and DuPont, as well as Ketron, Ander­son and McNeil Islands.

The 28th is also one of sev­er­al bat­tle­ground dis­tricts that has elect­ed both Demo­c­ra­t­ic and Repub­li­can can­di­dates to the Leg­is­la­ture in recent elec­tion cycles.

Melanie Mor­gan – 29th Dis­trict

Melanie Mor­gan is tak­ing over for fel­low Demo­c­rat David Sawyer, who placed third in the Top Two elec­tion fol­low­ing pub­lic accu­sa­tions in Feb­ru­ary 2018 of “unpro­fes­sion­al, inap­pro­pri­ate behav­ior” by sev­er­al women. The 29th Dis­trict includes part of Taco­ma and por­tions of Lake­wood, Spanaway and Park­land.

Mor­gan is an Army vet­er­an who has called the 29th home for the past twen­ty years. She served on the Franklin-Pierce School Board, as Com­mis­sion­er on the Board of the Pierce Coun­ty Hous­ing Author­i­ty, as well as on the Board of Com­mu­ni­ty Health­care. She has a spent a sig­nif­i­cant amount of time work­ing on issues relat­ed to edu­ca­tion, fam­i­ly home­less­ness and com­mu­ni­ty rela­tions.

Lau­ren Davis – 32nd Dis­trict

Lau­ren Davis won the posi­tion cur­rent­ly held by retir­ing Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ruth Kagi in the 32nd Dstrict after Kagi announced her retire­ment fol­low­ing her ten year ser­vice in the Leg­is­la­ture. The dis­trict includes parts of Sno­homish and King Coun­ties, includ­ing the cities of Lyn­nwood, Edmonds and Shore­line.

Davis is the Exec­u­tive Direc­tor and founder of the Wash­ing­ton Recov­ery Alliance and has worked at the Bill & Melin­da Gates Foun­da­tion. She was also a Ful­bright fel­low in Ghana. Davis orga­nized sup­port for House Bill 1713, also known as Ricky’s Law, which was named for a friend she was care­tak­er for.

Debra Lekanoff – 40th Dis­trict

Debra Lekanoff’s race in the 40th Dis­trict was pre­vi­ous­ly cov­ered here on the The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate back in the sum­mer. Lekanoff won the seat pre­vi­ous­ly held by wide­ly respect­ed House Finance Chair Kris Lyt­ton. The dis­trict includes San Juan Coun­ty, as well as por­tions of What­com and Skag­it Coun­ties.

Lekanoff is an Alas­ka Native and moved to Wash­ing­ton to attend Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty. She has served as the Swinomish Gov­ern­men­tal Affairs Direc­tor for the past six­teen years, and she also served as Chair of an Alaskan Native Vil­lage Cor­po­ra­tion. Lekanoff sup­ports envi­ron­men­tal best prac­tices, advanc­ing edu­ca­tion and tech­ni­cal train­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, increas­ing the amount of afford­able hous­ing stock, and address­ing issues affect­ing women.

My-Linh Thai – 41st Dis­trict

My-Linh Thai is replac­ing retir­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Judy Clib­born in the 41st Dis­trict. The dis­trict cov­ers all of Mer­cer Island and New­cas­tle, as well as por­tions of Belle­vue, Ren­ton, Issaquah and Sam­mamish.

Thai is a phar­ma­cist who has served as Belle­vue School Board Pres­i­dent and Vice Pres­i­dent of the Wash­ing­ton State School Board Direc­tors Asso­ci­a­tion.

Thai immi­grat­ed to Wash­ing­ton State from Viet­nam as a teenag­er. She is pas­sion­ate about help­ing kids suc­ceed, improv­ing pub­lic health, car­ing for the envi­ron­ment, as well as reform­ing Washington’s regres­sive tax code and secur­ing long-term afford­able hous­ing options for work­ers, seniors and fam­i­lies.

Sharon Shew­make – 42nd Dis­trict

We pre­vi­ous­ly cov­ered Sharon Shewmake’s race in the 42nd leg­isla­tive dis­trict (LD), which spans a sig­nif­i­cant chunk of Washington’s bor­der neigh­bor­hoods, tak­ing in many rur­al What­com Coun­ty com­mu­ni­ties as well as a por­tion of the City of Belling­ham. The dis­trict had pre­vi­ous­ly been rep­re­sent­ed entire­ly by Repub­li­cans for many years, until Shew­make unseat­ed Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Buys.

Shew­make is a pro­fes­sor of eco­nom­ics at West­ern Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty and hopes to bring more-afford­able high­er edu­ca­tion to the dis­trict through poten­tial tuition free options. Guid­ed by her eco­nom­ics exper­tise, Shew­make also ran on a plat­form that sup­port­ed ful­ly fund­ing the Hous­ing Trust Fund, as well as look­ing at loca­tion solu­tions to the district’s hous­ing cri­sis.

Jared Mead – 44th Dis­trict

Jared Mead will be the youngest serv­ing law­mak­er in Washington’s House. The twen­ty-sev­en year-old defeat­ed Mark Harmsworth in Novem­ber, turn­ing the 44th Dis­trict com­plete­ly blue. The dis­trict includes the cities of Mill Creek, Sno­homish, Lake Stevens, and Marysville. Its oth­er rep­re­sen­ta­tives are Democ­rats John Lovick (in the House) and Steve Hobbs (the dis­tric­t’s Sen­a­tor).

Mead, who grew up in Mill Creek, has served on the Mill Creek City Coun­cil and the Mill Creek Plan­ning Com­mis­sion.

Some of the big issues affect­ing his dis­trict include are afford­able hous­ing, traf­fic con­ges­tion, school over­crowd­ing, and replace­ment of the High­way 2 tres­tle.

Debra Enten­man – 47th Dis­trict

Debra Enten­man defeat­ed incum­bent Repub­li­can Mark Har­grove to become Pat Sul­li­van’s new seat­mate in the 47th Dis­trict, which is bor­dered by the 11th LD to the north, the 33rd and 30th LDs to the west, the 5th LD to the east, and the 31st LD to the south. It also includes large por­tions of Auburn and Cov­ing­ton.

Grow­ing up, Enten­man lived in low-income hous­ing and was part of the inau­gur­al class of Seattle/King Coun­ty Head Start. She is a strong advo­cate for edu­ca­tion, as well as efforts to bet­ter address men­tal health and addic­tion. She was pre­vi­ous­ly dis­trict direc­tor for U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Adam Smith.

Amy Walen – 48th Dis­trict

Amy Walen has served as Kirk­land City Coun­cil mem­ber since 2009, and more recent­ly as Kirk­land’s May­or (Kirk­land has the coun­cil-man­ag­er form of gov­ern­ment). She won the posi­tion held by Joan McBride after McBride announced her retire­ment in March. NPI’s head­quar­ters is locat­ed in the dis­trict, which pri­mar­i­ly con­sists of neigh­bor­hoods in Red­mond, Kirk­land, and north Belle­vue. The 48th also encom­pass­es Clyde Hill, Yarrow Point, Hunts Point and Med­i­na.

Walen’s top pri­or­i­ties include increas­ing afford­able hous­ing, pol­lu­tion reduc­tion, sen­si­ble gun leg­is­la­tion, human rights, and sup­port­ing small busi­ness­es.

In the Senate

Emi­ly Ran­dall – 26th Dis­trict

Emi­ly Randall’s race was also pro­filed here on The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate pri­or to the midterms. Ran­dall won the seat of retir­ing Repub­li­can Jan Angel after a hard-fought cam­paign. The 26th spans the south­east­ern part of the Kit­sap Penin­su­la, stretch­ing from Bre­mer­ton and Port Orchard in the north to Gig Har­bor in the south.

Ran­dall cit­ed afford­abil­i­ty as being a cen­tral issue fac­ing the dis­trict, espe­cial­ly regard­ing how the area is deal­ing with growth.

She hopes to cre­ate more edu­ca­tion­al path­ways and expand appren­tice­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties, as well as as well as increase the busi­ness and occu­pa­tion tax exemp­tion lev­el to allow small busi­ness­es to thrive. Her win was very dra­mat­ic: she emerged from a recount with a lead of only one hun­dred and one votes.

Claire Wil­son – 30th Dis­trict

Claire Wilson’s race was cov­ered here on The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate lead­ing up to the midterms. She won with ease, beat­ing incum­bent Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Mark Milos­cia. The dis­trict con­sists most­ly of neigh­bor­hoods in King Coun­ty, plus a few precincts across the bor­der in Pierce Coun­ty. Major cities with­in it include Fed­er­al Way, Des Moines, Auburn, Algo­na, Pacif­ic and Mil­ton, Wash­ing­ton.

Wil­son is an out­spo­ken sup­port­ers of women’s repro­duc­tive rights and LGBTQ+ rights. She also has a back­ground in edu­ca­tion and was serv­ing her sec­ond term as the Fed­er­al Way School Board Pres­i­dent before win­ning her cam­paign.

Jesse Salomon – 32nd Dis­trict

Jesse Salomon will suc­ceed fel­low Demo­c­rat Mar­a­lyn Chase in the 32nd Dis­trict. The dis­trict includes the cities of Lyn­nwood, Edmonds and Shore­line.

Salomon is a for­mer King Coun­ty pub­lic defend­er and has been a Shore­line City Coun­cil mem­ber. A few Salomon’s goals for the 32nd include build­ing new afford­able hous­ing units, reduce car­bon emis­sions, cre­ate paid fam­i­ly and med­ical leave and improve parks and salmon habi­tats.

Joe Nguyen – 34th Dis­trict

Joe Nguyen won the seat held by out­go­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic Major­i­ty Leader Sharon Nel­son, who announced her retire­ment in March. The dis­trict cov­ers all of Vash­ion Island, as well as West Seat­tle, White Cen­ter and Burien.

Nguyen is the son of Viet­namese refugees and pre­vi­ous­ly served as the Chair of Well­spring Fam­i­ly Ser­vices’ Asso­ciate Board and as a mem­ber of the Com­mu­ni­ty Advi­so­ry Com­mit­tee for the Office of Law Enforce­ment Over­sight in King Coun­ty. He ran on a plat­form empha­siz­ing increased hous­ing afford­abil­i­ty, health­care, pub­lic tran­sit improve­ments, envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tions and edu­ca­tion reform.

Mona Das – 47th Dis­trict

On elec­tion night, it was unclear if Mona Das would over­take entrenched Repub­li­can  Joe Fain. Lat­er returns estab­lished that Das was the win­ner. Fain, one of the few Repub­li­can leg­is­la­tors left with­in King Coun­ty, con­ced­ed a few days lat­er.

Das is the daugh­ter of Indi­an immi­grants. She is pas­sion­ate about solv­ing the district’s hous­ing issues, which includes restruc­tur­ing Wash­ing­ton State’s prop­er­ty tax code, fight­ing for more afford­able hous­ing, adding more tran­sit options, and pro­vid­ing local munic­i­pal­i­ties with new tools to pro­tect renters.

Check back soon for a roundup of the new Repub­li­can mem­bers who will be join­ing the Leg­is­la­ture when it con­venes next Mon­day.

Adjacent posts

  • Donate now to support The Cascadia Advocate


    Thank you for read­ing The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s jour­nal of world, nation­al, and local pol­i­tics.

    Found­ed in March of 2004, The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate has been help­ing peo­ple through­out the Pacif­ic North­west and beyond make sense of cur­rent events with rig­or­ous analy­sis and thought-pro­vok­ing com­men­tary for more than fif­teen years. The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate is fund­ed by read­ers like you: we have nev­er accept­ed adver­tis­ing or place­ments of paid con­tent.

    And we’d like it to stay that way.

    Help us keep The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate edi­to­ri­al­ly inde­pen­dent and freely avail­able by becom­ing a mem­ber of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute today. Or make a dona­tion to sus­tain our essen­tial research and advo­ca­cy jour­nal­ism.

    Your con­tri­bu­tion will allow us to con­tin­ue bring­ing you fea­tures like Last Week In Con­gress, live cov­er­age of events like Net­roots Nation or the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion, and reviews of books and doc­u­men­tary films.

    Become an NPI mem­ber Make a one-time dona­tion