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Tuesday, December 6th, 2022

Meet the Democrats joining the Washington State Legislature on January 9th, 2023

Editor’s Note: This is the first of two install­ments intro­duc­ing the peo­ple join­ing the Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture in January.

On Jan­u­ary 9th, 2023, the Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture will offi­cial­ly con­vene for its one hun­dred and five day long ses­sion with many new mem­bers and even stronger Demo­c­ra­t­ic majori­ties. Democ­rats will have a major­i­ty of twen­ty-nine in the Sen­ate and a major­i­ty of fifty-eight in the House. The par­ty ulti­mate­ly flipped one seat in the Sen­ate and one in the House in the Novem­ber midterms.

Here is a com­pendi­um of the Democ­rats about to join the Legislature:

Rostrum of the Washington State House of Representatives

Ros­trum of the Wash­ing­ton State House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, as seen from the floor (Pho­to: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)

10th Legislative District

Posi­tion 1: Clyde Shavers

Candidate portrait of Clyde Shavers

Clyde Shavers
(Cam­paign photo)

Clyde Shavers is a Unit­ed States Navy vet­er­an, hav­ing got­ten his B.S. at the US Naval Acad­e­my and his JD at Yale Law School. He estab­lished the Yale Coali­tion to End Home­less­ness and has been involved in Skag­it Friend­ship House, “a faith-based orga­ni­za­tion that serves Mount Vernon’s home­less and work­ing poor,” and South Whid­bey Island’s Goose­foo non­prof­it, “which works to build afford­able housing.”

He has stat­ed that he cares “about afford­able hous­ing, qual­i­ty health­care, and good edu­ca­tion for our chil­dren,” among oth­er things.

His vic­to­ry is expect­ed to be con­firmed by a recount set to take place on Decem­ber 12th.

29th Legislative District

Posi­tion 2: Sharlett Mena

Candidate portrait of Sharlett Mena

Sharlett Mena
(Cam­paign photo)

Sharlett Mena, cur­rent­ly a Demo­c­ra­t­ic precinct com­mit­tee offi­cer in the 29th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict and a mem­ber of the Pierce Coun­ty Demo­c­ra­t­ic Cen­tral Com­mit­tee, went to Wash­ing­ton State Uni­ver­si­ty, earn­ing a BA from WSU.

She’s “worked in the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate, and for Gov­er­nor Inslee.”

She says she will “pri­or­i­tize eco­nom­ic revi­tal­iza­tion with liv­ing wage jobs, con­front the hous­ing cri­sis, and improve pub­lic safety.”

Mena suc­ceeds Steve Kir­by, who chose to retire rather than seek reelection.

34th Legislative District

Posi­tion 1: Emi­ly Alvarado

Candidate portrait of Emily Alvarado

Emi­ly Alvara­do
(Cam­paign photo)

Emi­ly Alvara­do went to Scripps Col­lege, where she earned her BA, and to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton School of Law, where she earned her JD.

She was just elect­ed to the 34th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict as State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Posi­tion 1. She wants to “improve K‑12 fund­ing, expand work­force devel­op­ment, and reduce gun violence.”

Alvara­do suc­ceeds long­time Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Eileen Cody, who cur­rent­ly has more senior­i­ty than any oth­er House Demo­c­rat. Her seat­mate will be the new Major­i­ty Leader, Joe Fitzgibbon.

36th Legislative District

Posi­tion 1: Julia Reed

Candidate portrait of Julia Reed

Julia Reed
(Cam­paign photo)

State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive-elect Reed attend­ed Smith Col­lege, where she earned a BA, and Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, where she earned an MPA.

She also is a for­mer chair of the 36th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict Democ­rats. She pre­vailed over a field that includ­ed oth­er for­mer 36th LD chairs to take the place of cur­rent State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Noel Frame, who is mov­ing over to the Wash­ing­ton State Senate.

She wants to work on the hous­ing cri­sis and cli­mate cri­sis, as well as “defend abor­tion rights.”

37th Legislative District

Posi­tion 2: Chipa­lo Street

Candidate portrait of Chipalo Street

Chipa­lo Street
(Cam­paign photo)

Soon-to-be Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Street went to Brown Uni­ver­si­ty, where he earned both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in com­put­er science.

He is an employ­ee at Microsoft, and is also the own­er of a small business.

He wants to “cham­pi­on expand­ing access to edu­ca­tion and trades, ensur­ing envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, increas­ing hous­ing afford­abil­i­ty, and invest­ing in transit.”

He will suc­ceed Kirsten Har­ris-Tal­ley, who left the House after serv­ing just one term.

38th Legislative District

Posi­tion 1: Julio Cortes

Candidate portrait of Julio Cortes

Julio Cortes
(Cam­paign photo)

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive-elect Cortes attend­ed West­ern Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, where he earned his BA.

He works for the city of Everett as the man­ag­er of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions and Marketing.

He believes that “local fam­i­lies and small busi­ness­es deserve…leadership focused on eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ty, improved pub­lic safe­ty, and qual­i­ty afford­able housing.”

Cortes will suc­ceed Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Emi­ly Wicks, who was appoint­ed to the House in 2020 to fill a vacan­cy left by now-Sen­a­tor June Robin­son when she moved across the Rotun­da. Wicks opt­ed not to seek reelection.

Posi­tion 2: Mary Fosse

Candidate portrait of Mary Fosse

Mary Fos­se
(Cam­paign photo)

Mary Fos­se went to Whit­man Col­lege, where she earned a BA in history.

She’s also a coun­cilmem­ber for the city of Everett, and used to own a small busi­ness in the city. She’s chair of the Delta Neigh­bor­hood Asso­ci­a­tion as well.

She “will fight to tack­le hous­ing afford­abil­i­ty,  home­less­ness cri­sis, sup­port­ing schools,” and much more.

She worked as a leg­isla­tive assis­tant for Wicks before step­ping down to run for the Leg­is­la­ture herself.

Mary suc­ceeds long­time Demo­c­ra­t­ic State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Sells, who decid­ed to retire rather than seek reelec­tion to anoth­er term.

42nd Legislative District

Posi­tion 2: Joe Timmons

Candidate portrait of Joe Timmons

Joe Tim­mons
(Cam­paign photo)

Joe Tim­mons earned his bachelor’s degree at West­ern Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, and his master’s degree at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Washington.

He’s also a Belling­ham Food Bank board member.

Some of his cam­paign promis­es are “to sup­port small busi­ness­es so they can cre­ate liv­ing wage jobs and stand up to insur­ance com­pa­nies to low­er health­care costs.”

Tim­mons will take over for Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sharon Shew­make, who is mov­ing over to the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate, hav­ing defeat­ed appoint­ed Repub­li­can State Sen­a­tor Simon Sefzik.

46th Legislative District

Posi­tion 2: Darya Farivar

Candidate portrait of Darya Farivar

Darya Fari­var
(Cam­paign photo)

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive-elect Fari­var will be a his­toric first, giv­en that she will be the first woman of Mid­dle East­ern descent in the State House.

She attend­ed the Uni­ver­si­ty of Red­lands, earn­ing her BA there. She is also Dis­abil­i­ty Rights Washington’s pub­lic pol­i­cy director.

She wants to work on address­ing Wash­ing­ton state’s home­less­ness cri­sis, as well as keep­ing com­mu­ni­ties safe.

She will suc­ceed State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Javier Valdez, who is replac­ing cur­rent Sen­a­tor David Frockt in the Wash­ing­ton State Senate.

47th Legislative District

Posi­tion 2: Chris Stearns

Candidate portrait of Chris Stearns

Chris Stearns
(Cam­paign photo)

Auburn city Coun­cilmem­ber turned Rep­re­sen­ta­tive-elect Chris Stearns earned his BA at Williams Col­lege and his JD at Cor­nell Law School.

He is also a vet­er­an of the Clin­ton administration.

He wants to “con­tin­ue lead­ing on work­force devel­op­ment, eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ty, pro­tect­ing civ­il and women’s rights, and safe­guard­ing forests, salmon and nat­ur­al resources.”

Stearns suc­ceeds retir­ing Major­i­ty Leader Pat Sul­li­van, who has rep­re­sent­ed the 47th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict for more than a decade in the House.

Floor of the Washington State Senate

Floor of the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate (Pho­to: Lincolnite)

The fol­low­ing Democ­rats are not new to the Leg­is­la­ture, hav­ing all served in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives or in the Sen­ate before, but they were not part of the Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus in the pre­vi­ous bien­ni­um, so they’re get­ting hon­or­able men­tions in this post. Here’s who is mov­ing over to the Sen­ate or returning: 

36th Legislative District

State Sen­a­tor: Noel Frame

Candidate portrait of Noel Frame

Noel Frame
(Cam­paign photo)

State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Noel Frame has just been elect­ed to the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate, where she plans to “address the sky­rock­et­ing cost of liv­ing and oth­er fac­tors exac­er­bat­ing eco­nom­ic inequal­i­ty,” among oth­er issues.

She went to George Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in polit­i­cal com­mu­ni­ca­tion and a master’s degree in polit­i­cal management.

She’s also the direc­tor of pol­i­cy and plan­ning at BDS Plan­ning and Urban Design.

Frame suc­ceeds retir­ing Sen­a­tor Reuven Car­lyle, who served sev­er­al terms after being appoint­ed to take the place of Jeanne Kohl-Welles, who joined the King Coun­ty Coun­cil sev­er­al years ago after Lar­ry Phillips retired.

42nd Legislative District

State Sen­a­tor: Sharon Shewmake

Candidate portrait of Sharon Shewmake

Sharon Shew­make
(Cam­paign photo)

State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Shew­make is mov­ing from the state House to the state Sen­ate after defeat­ing Simon Sefzik.

She attend­ed Duke Uni­ver­si­ty, earn­ing a BA in eco­nom­ics and envi­ron­men­tal pol­i­cy, as well as the Uni­ver­si­ty of Cal­i­for­nia, Davis, where she earned a PhD in agri­cul­tur­al and resource economics.

Her plat­form includes “afford­able homes, good jobs, qual­i­ty health­care, and keep­ing What­com Coun­ty a great place to live and raise a family.”

Shew­make was one of two can­di­dates who pre­vi­ous­ly flipped the 42nd’s House seats from red to blue (the oth­er is Ali­cia Rule). Now she’s suc­ceed­ed in strength­en­ing the Democ­rats’ Sen­ate major­i­ty to twen­ty-nine seats.

46th Legislative District

State Sen­a­tor: Javier Valdez

Campaign portrait of Javier Valdez

Javier Valdez
(Cam­paign photo)

As men­tioned, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Valdez will be switch­ing cham­bers in Jan­u­ary, head­ing to the state Senate.

He went to the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton, where earned a bachelor’s degree in Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion, and to Baruch Col­lege, where he earned a master’s degree in Pub­lic Administration.

Valdez is a mem­ber of the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Com­mit­tee (DNC) rep­re­sent­ing Wash­ing­ton State.

He has stat­ed that he will work on “ban­ning assault weapons, pro­tect­ing access to repro­duc­tive health­care, and address­ing the home­less­ness cri­sis” while in the Senate.

Valdez suc­ceeds Sen­a­tor David Frockt.

47th Legislative District

State Sen­a­tor: Clau­dia Kauffman

Candidate portrait of Claudia Kauffman

Clau­dia Kauff­man
(Cam­paign photo)

Clau­dia Kauff­man, a for­mer state sen­a­tor for the 47th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict from 2007 to 2011, has been elect­ed to her old posi­tion after a twelve-year break. She was the first Native Amer­i­can elect­ed to the State Sen­ate in 2007 when she assumed office.

Kauff­man lost to Repub­li­can Joe Fain in the 2010 midterms. Fain was defeat­ed eight years lat­er by Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger Mona Das, who opt­ed not to seek reelec­tion after serv­ing a sin­gle term.

Kauff­man ran unsuc­cess­ful­ly for Port of Seat­tle in 2017.

She attend­ed North­west Indi­an Col­lege, earn­ing an associate’s degree there, and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Wash­ing­ton School of Busi­ness, earn­ing a cer­tifi­cate in project management.

Kauff­man wants to reduce fam­i­lies’ cost of liv­ing and increase fund­ing for behav­ioral health treatment.

Her vic­to­ry over Bill Boyce keeps the 47th’s State Sen­ate seat Demo­c­ra­t­ic. It’s the first time in decades Democ­rats have won the seat in two con­sec­u­tive midterms.

Adjacent posts

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One Comment

  1. Awe­some arti­cle. Like how artic­u­late and to the point this arti­cle was. Kudos!

    # by Abid Ali :: December 6th, 2022 at 1:14 PM
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