NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

Voters in 40th, 13th Districts retain Liz Lovelett and Alex Ybarra as their legislators

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.

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