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.

Tuesday, December 13th, 2022

Councilmember Dave Upthegrove will be the 2023 Chair of the King County Council

With 2022 rapid­ly draw­ing to a close, the King Coun­ty Coun­cil is get­ting ready for the new year ahead. Today, the Coun­cil announced its lead­er­ship and com­mit­tee assign­ments for 2023. The biggest change is that Dave Upthe­grove of the 5th Dis­trict will be tak­ing over as Chair of the Coun­cil, suc­ceed­ing Clau­dia Balducci.

“My pri­or­i­ty will be to sup­port and strength­en our demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions and demon­strate that democ­ra­cy can work,” Upthe­grove said in a state­ment pub­lished by the Coun­cil. “Our guid­ing val­ue will be respect. This means respect for one anoth­er, for our excep­tion­al staff, and for the peo­ple we serve.”

The posi­tion of Chair of the Coun­cil rotates slow­ly among coun­cilmem­bers who are from the Coun­cil’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty. The posi­tion has been held by Bal­duc­ci for three years, through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The nine-mem­ber body is King Coun­ty’s leg­isla­tive branch, respon­si­ble for mak­ing laws at the coun­ty lev­el. King Coun­ty is by far the largest local juris­dic­tion in the state, with 2,252,305 res­i­dents accord­ing to a 2021 esti­mate.

The coun­ty is big­ger in pop­u­la­tion than more than a dozen states in the Unit­ed States. It also has a larg­er land area than either Rhode Island or Delaware.

Its bien­ni­al oper­at­ing bud­get exceeds $16 bil­lion.

No King Coun­ty Coun­cil posi­tions were on the bal­lot this cycle because they are reg­u­lar­ly vot­ed upon in odd-years, though thanks to the suc­cess of a char­ter amend­ment con­ceived here at NPI, that’s about to change. Bal­duc­ci and her Coun­cil col­leagues from even-num­bered dis­tricts will be run­ning for three-year terms next year rather than four-year terms. Begin­ning in 2026, those posi­tions will be for terms of four years again, and will be vot­ed upon in midterm cycles.

The Coun­cil’s cur­rent mem­ber­ship is:

  • Rod Dem­bows­ki, 1st District
  • Gir­may Zahi­lay, 2nd District
  • Sarah Per­ry, 3rd District
  • Jeanne Kohl-Welles, 4th District
  • Dave Upthe­grove, 5th District
  • Clau­dia Bal­duc­ci, 6th District
  • Pete von Reich­bauer, 7th District
  • Joe McDer­mott, 8th District
  • Rea­gan Dunn, 9th District

In addi­tion to nam­ing Upthe­grove Chair, the Coun­cil also set its com­mit­tee lead­er­ship for the 2023 cal­en­dar year. Lead­er­ship is as follows:

  • Com­mit­tee of the Whole: Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Chair; Clau­dia Bal­duc­ci, Vice Chair
  • Bud­get and Fis­cal Man­age­ment: Joe McDer­mott, Chair; Rod Dem­bows­ki, Vice Chair
  • Law, Jus­tice, Health and Human Ser­vices: Gir­may Zahi­lay, Chair; Sarah Per­ry, Vice Chair
  • Trans­porta­tion, Econ­o­my and Envi­ron­ment: Rod Dem­bows­ki, Chair; Pete von Reich­bauer, Vice Chair
  • Local Ser­vices and Land Use: Sarah Per­ry, Chair; Gir­may Zahi­lay, Vice Chair
  • Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­i­ty and Over­sight: Pete von Reich­bauer, Chair; Joe McDer­mott, Vice Chair
  • Employ­ment and Admin­is­tra­tion: Dave Upthe­grove, Chair; Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Vice Chair
  • Region­al Pol­i­cy Com­mit­tee: Pete von Reich­bauer, Chair
  • Region­al Trans­porta­tion Com­mit­tee: Sarah Per­ry, Chair
  • Region­al Water Qual­i­ty Com­mit­tee: Clau­dia Bal­duc­ci, Chair

Upthe­grove, a for­mer state leg­is­la­tor, is known for his exem­plary envi­ron­men­tal advo­ca­cy and stew­ard­ship. He served in the Leg­is­la­ture from 2002 until 2013, when he joined the Coun­cil. He is a mem­ber of the Sound Tran­sit Board of Direc­tors. He will assume his new respon­si­bil­i­ties on Jan­u­ary 1st, 2023.

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