Today, the Washington State Senate and the Washington State House of Representative each gained a new member from the 1st Legislative District as a result of the resignation of former State Senator Guy Palumbo back in May.
In a joint meeting at Bothell City Hall, the King and Snohomish County Councils exercised their authority under the Constitution to appoint State Representative Derek Stanford to take Palumbo’s place in the Senate. The Councils then filled the vacancy created by Stanford’s move across the rotunda by appointing Bothell City Councilmember Davina Duerr to the Washington State House of Representatives.
Stanford, first elected to the House in 2010, said he’s ready to make the switch.
“I’m excited to get to work in the Senate, and I’m grateful to the 1st District Democrats and to the Snohomish and King County councils for their support,” the newly appointed Senator said in a statement. “It has been an honor to serve the people of the 1st Legislative District as state representative for the past nine years.”
“I’m proud to have played a part in passing historic legislation during my tenure in the House, from increasing school funding and expanding voting rights to fighting climate change and protecting workers,” he said.
“I believe that everyone deserves an equitable opportunity to pursue their dreams. Together, we can tackle the greatest challenges we face and leave our state in better shape for our children. I look forward to continuing this work in the Senate.”
Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig (D‑3rd District) offered a warm welcome.
“It is my pleasure to welcome Senator Stanford to our caucus,” said Billig. “He brings with him a long, accomplished record of serving his constituents and a wealth of knowledge that will benefit the Senate and our state.”
“This year, Stanford was the author of a major law that bans excessive non-compete agreements in Washington state, as well as legislation regulating the cannabis industry and preventing pets from being used as collateral for loans,” noted Senate Democratic staff in their news release lauding the appointment.
Stanford received the unanimous support of all nine members of the King County Council plus the five members of the Snohomish County Council for the Senate vacancy. The other two candidates nominated by the Washington State Democratic Party for the position were Snohomish County Democratic Chair Hillary Moralez and former WSDCC member Linda Tosti-Lane. Both supported Stanford.
Moralez was also nominated for the House vacancy alongside Duerr and Nepali-American business leader Darshan Rauniyar. After hearing from all three nominees, the Councils chose Duerr to fill the House vacancy through November of 2020.
The motion to select Duerr’s name received the support of Councilmembers Rod Dembowski, Claudia Balducci, Joe McDermott, Kathy Lambert, Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Reagan Dunn, Terry Ryan, Brian Sullivan, Sam Low, Stephanie Wright, and Nate Nehring (from King and Snohomish counties, respectively), with Councilmembers Larry Gossett, Dave Upthegrove, and Pete von Reichbauer dissenting.
Duerr will represent the 1st in the House alongside State Representative Shelley Kloba, who herself was once a city councilmember prior to joining the Legislature.
An architect and environmental advocate, Duerr currently serves the City of Bothell as councilmember and Deputy Mayor (a position chosen from among the council). She is running for reelection this August/November, and is facing two challengers. For the time being, she plans to remain in office and continue to campaign for reelection despite having been appointed to the State House.
The Legislature is currently not in session, but it will reconvene in January of 2020 for up to sixty days. Legislators aren’t currently prohibited from holding positions in local government in addition to serving at the state level, but most new legislators coming from the city, council, port, or school board level choose to relinquish their previous positions upon joining the House or Senate to ensure they can devote their full energies to legislating and avoid conflicts of interest.
As a new Democratic member of the Washington State House, Duerr will be one of fifty-seven people who gets to decide who will serve as the next Speaker in the wake of Frank Chopp’s resignation. There are four candidates seeking the position. All are women. They are: State Representatives Laurie Jinkins, Monica Jurado Stonier, June Robinson, and NPI’s Gael Tarleton. The election for Speaker-designate will be held on July 31st in Olympia by the caucus. Voting will be by secret ballot.
NPI congratulates Derek Stanford on joining the Senate and Davina Duerr on becoming a state representative. We look forward to collaborating with both of them to advance worthy causes that will improve our region’s quality of life.