Fred Jarrett Quits Senate to Serve as Constantine’s Deputy

State Sen. Fred Jarrett announced today that he would give up his seat to serve as Deputy Executive to former primary rival Dow Constantine. The newly enhanced position will make Jarrett the number two man in King County Executive’s office. It’s a good fit for Jarrett, who brings both extensive legislative experience to the position, and administrative experience as both Mercer Island mayor, and a longtime Boeing executive.

Yeah, sure, until a couple years ago, Jarrett was a (ugh) Republican… but he was always my favorite Republican — more liberal on more issues than some Eastside Democrats — so I have no misgivings there.


  1. 4

    Particle Man spews:

    George, do you mean Marcie Maxwell? I expect Judy Clibborn would have more traditional rights to that appointment, but she may want to hold on to the Transportation chair, since there is a line in the senate for that position.

  2. 5

    Smartypants spews:

    Fantastic choice. I’ve long admired Fred as one of the most thoughtful public officials in the region. He is very, very strong on transportation issues. Great for King County, though a loss for the legislature.

  3. 6

    fairness uber alles spews:

    how do we fill a senate vacancy now? wil this lead to the typical step up of a representative then the local democratic party chair will become the new representative?

  4. 8


    Gosh. I always thought I was your favorite Republican, Goldy!

    I’m happy to hear that Fred will be deputy county executive. He and I had many discussions during our time together in Olympia on what he’d do to improve King County government, and I hope he’s successful in getting his ideas implemented. I also hope Dow lets him do his work!

    As for the process for filing the vacancy in the Senate (@6), the 41st District Democrats will nominate three people for the position, ranked in order of preference, and the county council will choose Jarrett’s replacement from amongst those three. I would strongly suspect that Judy Clibborn would be the #1 choice, but Particle Man may be right that she’d prefer to keep her position as chair of the House Transportation Committee. If either Clibborn or Maxwell is appointed to the Senate, then their seat in the House would be filled using the same process.

    In any case, Jarrett’s resignation from the Senate means there will be an appointee in one of the three positions in the 41st District legislative delegation in the 2010 election, which should prove to be one of the most hotly contested races in the state.

  5. 9



    Fred was my favorite Republican elected official. You may have been once, but it’s been such a long time since you held office, I don’t remember.

  6. 11

    Smartypants spews:

    Nice save, Goldy.

    I first met Toby when he was being interviewed by the Muni League during his first run for office. Even though I disagree with many of his political views, he is also one of the thoughtful conservatives who brings consideration and a sense of decency to the political process. I wish he would run for elected office again — we need more like him and Fred.

  7. 12

    SJ on Troll Patrol spews:


    This is true “non-partisanship.” Two very qualified pols willing to work together!

    I hope McG notices how this was done!

    There is also a message here for those Dims who can nto see the folly in having a Brad O as LG!

  8. 13


    I did just run for elected office again — King County Fire Protection District No. 41, Commissioner Position No. 3. Got 65.31% of the vote so far! :-)

  9. 15

    Smartypants spews:

    Sorry I missed your return to public office, Toby. Congratulations on your election. And good luck!

  10. 16

    countrygirl spews:

    If the recent appointments are any indication, it will probably not be the Chair of the 41st.

    Here’s why:

    Look to the city councils in the district for someone with some cred among the PCOs and you’ll have you appointee. It’s a relatively conservative district where there’s more likely to be sympathizers with BIAW than the WSLC (for example), a bunch of nimbys, and a handful of tree-huggers (of the brie and chardonnay variety).

  11. 17


    Toby @13,

    I guess that would make you my favorite Republican elected official again… except the post is officially nonpartisan. And you know how slavish I am to the notion of nonpartisanship.

  12. 18


    Ha! I’ll have to remember to mention that in my voter guide statement the next time I run! :-)

    It’d be interesting to see if partisan labels on the ballot would make much difference in special purpose district races like fire districts. It’s hard to imagine many voters in FD41 not knowing that I’m a Republican, and it didn’t seem to be a factor. Then again, neither my opponent nor I did any campaigning aside from our voter guide statements and my one little blog ad.

    We should have the discussion about partisan versus non-partisan elections on another thread, but I’ll just say this: I continue to believe that political parties, as the private organizations they vehemently claim to be, have no more right to put their endorsements right on the ballot than any other organization.

  13. 19

    Bax spews:

    Toby, you may have gotten elected, but if the annexation in North Kirkland stays above the 60% line and is successful, FD 41 is dissolved. So you’d serve for about 5 minutes. :-)

  14. 20

    sarge spews:

    @16: Yes, sort of…you’ll have your THIRD nominee. The 41st will nominate three, and the County Council will pick one.

    Judy Clibborn and Marcie Maxwell will be nominated. The third? Right now I’m thinking Bill Erxleben, who was just elected again to the Newcastle City Council.

  15. 21


    @19: FD41 won’t be dissolved until the annexation effective date, which probably won’t be until spring 2011. It takes time to hire and train the police officers to patrol an area that big, and to get everything else lined up for Kirkland to take over.

    But look at the bright side: this may be the only opportunity I get in my entire life to preside over the dissolution of a government agency! I can’t let my friend Jim Nobles have all the fun; he still likes to talk about helping shut down the monorail agency.

    Keep in mind, though, that the annexation requires a 60% vote to pass, because the city debt assumption was bundled into the same ballot question. As of right now, it’s sitting at 60.26%, and the trend in recent tallies has been downward (it was 62.09% on election night). We have our fingers crossed that it stays above 60%; if it falls below that, the question will go back to the city council, which could choose to accept the annexation anyway without the debt assumption. They did exactly that on the last major annexation 20 years ago (Rose Hill area), but this is a different council, and different times.

  16. 22

    Bax spews:

    Considering that FD 41 contracts with Kirkland anyway, it’s not like dissolving it would be all that much work. Still, I give you credit for taking on what would probably end up being one of the more boring elected positions around. Commissioners of fire districts that contract with cities do very little. Enjoy the hard work of handing over $ to Kirkland!

    I hope the annexation is successful, by the way, as I know you do too. Best of luck with all of it.

  17. 23

    sarge spews:

    According to Publicola:

    Two obvious potential replacements are State Reps. Judy Clibborn and Marcie Maxwell, both of whom serve in Jarrett’s district. However, Clibborn—who currently serves as chair of the powerful House Transportation Committee—says she isn’t interested in the position.”Where I am right now, I’m in a position to make some real differences, and it doesn’t make sense to go to the Senate and start over on the seniority list,” Clibborn says.

    If true, this leaves two other nominees for the 41st to fill. Marcie will of course get a nod, but she is only recently elected and doesn’t have much political history with the County (or the 41st, for that matter).

    The question is, who else could potentially get five votes from the County Council?

  18. 25

    Particle Man spews:

    Marcie may well decide to stay where she is and let the fireworks play out in the senate race, between two new candidates.
    Maureen Judge, perhaps.
    Or Bill Chapman.

  19. 26


    @22: You’re right — writing one check a year to the City of Kirkland doesn’t sound like a particularly difficult job; maybe that’s why it pays a salary of $0.00. But there are some interesting things to happening in FD41. They’ve been seriously considering consolidating the two existing small fire stations into one larger one located more centrally, near Finn Hill Junior Highm possibly using some federal stimulus money to help pay for it (a grant application has already been submitted). It will be interesting to study all the issues around that and make the decision, even if it all does just get handed over to Kirkland Fire later.

    I also want to get more of the FD41 info online, including the schedule of board meetings, agendas, minutes, etc. It’s almost impossible for anyone to find out anything about the district today, despite it handling millions of dollars a year. People who are interested should be able to follow the transition decisions and process without having to show up in person at all the meetings.

  20. 27


    @23: The usual practice in these situations (on both sides of the aisle) is to find the ONE person the PCOs really want (who is willing to accept the appointment) and nominate them as choice #1, then fill the other two choices with long-time loyal PCOs or others you want to honor in some way but who can be counted on to decline the appointment in the unlikely event the county council were to pick them. Yeah, it sounds like a sham, gaming the process, but that’s the way it’s usually done.

  21. 29

    proud leftist spews:

    We have a thoughtful, rational Republican posting here. I thought the species had gone extinct.

  22. 30


    Hi Toby. Congratulations.

    I continue to believe that political parties, as the private organizations they vehemently claim to be, have no more right to put their endorsements right on the ballot than any other organization.

    I couldn’t quite follow this statement. Are there other organizations that currently put their endorsements on our ballots?

    There was a fusion voting proposal floating around. Using you as an example, you could appear on a ballot as both the Republican and Libertarian candidate.

    By empowering third parties, fusion voting would achieve many of the goals of instant runoff voting. But it’d preserve our current winner takes all form of elections, so it’d be a less disruptive change.

    Alas, fusion voting didn’t get much traction. Too bad. I much preferred it to the current “top two” mess Reed has created for us.

    For the record, I don’t think our politicians are nearly partisan enough. I used to be an “independent”, whatever that means. But now that I’ve run for office, I see that having broad support, such as a political party, is the only way non-rich first time candidates can hope to get elected.

    Anyway. It’s good to hear from you again, Toby. All the best. Good health.

    Cheers, Jason

  23. 31


    Toby @ 26

    I also want to get more of the FD41 info online…

    Here, here.

    For those that don’t know, Toby Nixon has been very involved with Washington Coalition for Open Government. I’ve attended some of their events. Good stuff. They’re the group that emboldened me to start making public records requests.

    Someone from washcog said “The Freedom of Information Act is a tool that gets more sharp as you use it. So use it.”

    Great advice.

  24. 32


    @30: That’s my point, Jason: no other private association has the ability to put their endorsement directly on the ballot, so why should political parties have that power? Our constitution requires equal protection of the laws, so all private associations should be treated equally with regard to putting their stamp of approval of a candidate directly on the ballot. And since it would be impossible or at least impractical to allow every private association that wants to endorse a candidate to put that indication directly on the ballot, then political parties shouldn’t do so, either.

    I’m not saying that I don’t think we should have political parties — we absolutely should! But the place for listing endorsements is in advertising, including the voter guide — not directly on the ballot.

    We should give candidates MUCH MORE space in the official voter guide — just 100 words for candidates for state representative is ridiculously little, for example. Let’s give every candidate a full page or two. This would be a much better use of “public funding of campaigns” than, say, handing out money to candidates to spend littering roadsides with signs or stuffing our mailboxes with negative mailers.

    Political parties would absolutely be able to endorse candidates, and candidates would be able to list those endorsements in the official voter guide (few want to spend the precious little space doing that today) — just not right on the ballot.

    This would also cover the “fusion” idea. Nothing would prevent a candidate from listing endorsements from both the Libertarian and Republican parties, or from both the Democratic and Green parties, in the voter guide, or in other advertising. Nothing would prevent parties from creating “slate cards” of endorsed candidates and distributing them to their members. Just not right on the ballot.

    As Goldy has said many times, every elected office is “really” partisan. The parties get involved in all of them with endorsements, volunteers, literature distribution, etc. The notion some people have that political parties should stay away from “non-partisan” races, and somehow keep their hands off them, is nonsense. The whole point of political parties is for like-minded people to join together, identify or recruit the best candidate for every public office, and organize to get them elected, whether the office is officially “partisan” or not. But — can I say it one more time? — that doesn’t entitle the parties to have space right on the ballot to print their endorsement! :-)