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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.

Tuesday, February 5th, 2019

Liz Lovelett chosen to succeed Kevin Ranker as Senator for Washington’s 40th District

Anacortes City Councilmember Liz Lovelett became the newest member of the Washington State Senate today when she was chosen by the Whatom County Council, San Juan County Commission, and Skagit County Commission to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former Senator Kevin Ranker.

“Liz Lovelett will be a great addition to our team,” Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig said in a statement. “She brings a lot of local government experience and a passion for public service. I am very excited to welcome her to the Senate.”

Liz Lovelett has served the people of Anacortes as one of their representatives since 2014. Her current term of service ends December 31st, 2021.

“A fifth-generation Fidalgo Island resident, Lovelett has a track record of service to her community,” the Senate Democratic caucus said in a news release. “She has worked on water management and local water rights, school bond and oil train safety, and hazardous material transport. On the city council she has championed affordable housing, water management, and other community improvements. She was the primary author of Anacortes’ affordable housing strategic plan.”

Newly appointed Senator Liz Lovelett

Newly appointed Senator Liz Lovelett

Lovelett was one of three individuals nominated by the Washington State Democratic Party to succeed Ranker. The other nominees were former State Representative Kris Lytton and Trevor Smith of the Laborers.

Lytton was the party’s first ranked nominee, but the State Constitution gives the county legislative authorities the actual appointing power, and they can choose from among any of the names on the list submitted by the party.

After interviewing Lytton, Lovelett, and Smith, the eleven county leaders present (with two more on the phone) discussed their options.

Commissioner Ken Dahlstedt of Skagit County moved to appoint Lovelett. Fellow Skagit Commissioner Ron Wesen seconded the motion.

Most of the Whatcom County Councilmembers voted against the motion, with two abstaining. All three of the San Juan County Commissioners voted in favor of Lovelett, as did two of the three Skagit County Commissioners.

Lovelett, thirty-nine, emphasized her work on issues like water use and ending homelessness during her interview at the joint meeting.

She cited equity as one of her core principles and explained that she would be a strong supporter of causes like environmental justice and LGBT rights.

And she argued that the Legislature could benefit from having a new legislator with deep familiarity of issues facing local governments.

“One of the things that I bring [to the table] is municipal government experience,” she said. “I think that that viewpoint is critical to have in Olympia as we figure out how to deal with these unfunded mandates that come from the State Legislature.”

This statement was well received by the assembled county leaders.

During the Q&A portion of the interview, Lovelett was asked if she plans to run in the coming special election in August and November of 2019. She confirmed that if she is appointed, she would seek to be retained in the position by the voters.

Lovelett will serve as Senator for the 40th until at least the end of November 2019.

Congratulations to her and best wishes as she assumes her new responsibilities!

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