Newly appointed Senator Liz Lovelett
Newly appointed Senator Liz Lovelett

Leg­isla­tive posi­tions in Wash­ing­ton State are not nor­mal­ly con­test­ed in odd num­bered years, but due to two res­ig­na­tions fol­low­ing last year’s midterms, two of Wash­ing­ton’s newest leg­is­la­tors appeared on this year’s bal­lot to defend their seats in spe­cial elec­tions. Both of them are com­fort­ably ahead in ear­ly returns.

Sen­a­tor Lovelett leads in the 40th 

Ear­ly results on elec­tion night showed Wash­ing­ton State Sen­a­tor for the 40th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict, Eliz­a­beth (Liz) Lovelett (D‑40th Dis­trict: Ana­cortes, San Juan Islands) defend­ing her Sen­ate seat. Vot­ers in the 40th LD, which includes San Juan Coun­ty and por­tions of What­com and Skag­it Coun­ties, backed Lovelett over­whelm­ing­ly. Her Repub­li­can oppo­nent is nowhere close to her.

Lovelett was appoint­ed to the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate in Feb­ru­ary, a few weeks after for­mer Demo­c­ra­t­ic State Sen­a­tor Kevin Ranker abrupt­ly resigned amid alle­ga­tions that he harassed a female employee.

She then defend­ed her seat in Washington’s Top Two elec­tion back in August against two oth­er Demo­c­ra­t­ic challengers.

Daniel Miller, the only Repub­li­can who filed in the race, faced off against Lovelett in the gen­er­al elec­tion. Two hours after the 8 PM bal­lot cut off time, Lovelett was lead­ing with near­ly 70 per­cent of the votes.

Lovelett was an active leg­is­la­tor in this year’s long session.

She describes her accom­plish­ments as hav­ing secured record high­er edu­ca­tion fund­ing, imple­ment­ing mod­est reforms to Wash­ing­ton’s regres­sive tax code and ded­i­cat­ed a major­i­ty of her band­width as a leg­is­la­tor to land­ing clean ener­gy invest­ments. She also served on the Trans­porta­tion Com­mit­tee and was made the Vice Chair of the Ener­gy, Envi­ron­ment and Tech­nol­o­gy Committee.

Assum­ing she wins, she hopes to return to the Leg­is­la­ture to con­tin­ue her efforts to pre­serve Washington’s envi­ron­ment amid threats from the cli­mate cri­sis, invest in clean ener­gy, and move Wash­ing­ton towards a green­er future.

For exam­ple, she is keen on elec­tri­fy­ing Wash­ing­ton State Fer­ries’ fleet.

Before serv­ing as state sen­a­tor, Lovelett was on the Ana­cortes City Coun­cil, rep­re­sent­ing an at large posi­tion, Posi­tion #6, since 2013.

Her cam­paign for reelec­tion was sup­port­ed by many influ­en­tial orga­ni­za­tions, includ­ing the Wash­ing­ton State Labor Coun­cil, Wash­ing­ton Edu­ca­tion Asso­ci­a­tion, Lum­mi Nation and Wash­ing­ton Con­ser­va­tion Voters.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ybar­ra ahead in the 13th

Over in the 13th LD, locat­ed in East­ern Wash­ing­ton and span­ning over all or most of Lin­coln, Grant and Kit­ti­tas coun­ties, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Alex Ybar­ra leads by an enor­mous mar­gin in his race against Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger Steve Verhey.

Ybar­ra was nom­i­nat­ed to the House seat when Matt Man­weller vacat­ed the spot short­ly after being elect­ed amid sex­u­al mis­con­duct allegations.

Ybar­ra hopes to return to the Leg­is­la­ture for the 2020 ses­sion to focus on water issues and edu­ca­tion, which were also his pri­or­i­ties this past year.

Dur­ing the 2019 ses­sion, Ybar­ra’s bill that allowed more flex­i­bil­i­ty on require­ments for new teach­ers was signed by Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee.

“I’m excit­ed to see this become law. My bill will open up oppor­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple look­ing to change careers and attract a more diverse pool of can­di­dates into edu­ca­tion pro­grams,” said Ybar­ra in a state­ment about the edu­ca­tion bill.

Before being nom­i­nat­ed for the House posi­tion, Ybar­ra worked as a reli­a­bil­i­ty and com­pli­ance inter­nal audi­tor for the Grant Coun­ty Pub­lic Util­i­ty Dis­trict. He was also a mem­ber of the Quin­cy school board and a mem­ber of Wash­ing­ton’s Com­mis­sion on His­pan­ic Affairs, as well as the School Direc­tors Asso­ci­a­tion Board.

Adjacent posts