Newly appointed Senator Liz Lovelett
Newly appointed Senator Liz Lovelett

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!

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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