Lawmakers kicked off a fun little game of musical chairs in Bothell on Monday when a coalition of council members from King and Snohomish Counties appointed State House Rep. Derek Stanford to the Washington State Senate, filling a seat recently vacated by Guy Palumbo.
Stanford, a Democrat who recently sponsored bills that established a "cannabis science task force," prevented retailers from repossessing pets (which I guess was a thing?), and required presidential candidates to reveal their taxes before being allowed on a Washington state ballot. He is also, importantly, "not averse to a capital gains tax," according to the Redmond Reporter, which means Democrats might have a better shot of passing that legislation next year.
Back in May, after blocking the capital gains tax and fighting to deliver as much public money for charter schools as possible, Palumbo became another member of the Revolving Door Caucus when he left his seat to work as a lobbyist for Amazon. I've asked Stanford for comment on all that and will update this post when I hear back.
In a press release, Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig said Stanford "brings with him a long, accomplished record of serving his constituents and a wealth of knowledge that will benefit the Senate and our state.”
Stanford is a data analytics nerd with a PhD in Statistics from the University of Washington. He runs "a small business specializing in analytics solutions and statistical consulting," according to the press release.
Since Legislative District 1 covers parts of King County and Snohomish County, representatives from both county councils picked from candidates nominated by the local Democratic party precinct committee officers. For the senate seat, those candidates included State Rep. Derek Stanford, Hillary Moralez, and Linda Tosti-Lane. I've listed the candidates in order of the number of votes they received from the PCOs, with Stanford winning the most and Tosti-Lane winning the least.
Accounting for the fact that Stanford might waltz into Palumbo's seat, the PCOs also picked candidates to fill Stanford's newly vacated seat. Those candidates were Bothell Deputy Mayor Davina Duerr, Hillary Moralez, and Darshan Rauniyar.
As is typical, the councils rubber-stamped the PCOs' pick and appointed Duerr from that slate. Duerr edged out Moralez, a progressive Democrat and Bernie delegate, by one vote at a party meeting a few weeks ago.
"I'm thrilled. It's a huge honor to be selected by two county councils," Duerr said over the phone.
Duerr, who also works part time as an architect, is currently running for re-election to the Bothell City Council. If voters in Bothell re-elect her, she'll have to decide whether to give up the city post or keep both positions. Right now she's saying she won't make that decision until after the election in November. Either way, the State House seat would be up for re-election next year, so she'd have to run for it again.
If she keeps both seats, Duerr won't be the first lawmaker to hold two offices at one time. In 2014, Rep. Mia Gregerson served on the SeaTac City Council and repped the 33rd Legislative District in the House.
Duerr says she feels "an obligation to Bothell" and would want to stay on the council to "maintain continuity" after a few controversies involving the city's former mayor and city manager.
As Deputy Mayor, Duerr makes around $15,000 per year. Her annual salary in the Legislature will be $46,839. She declined to tell me how much she makes as an architect. "I'm used to working hard," she said, when asked about balancing so many gigs.
Duerr says she hasn't talked about any conflict of interest concerns and "doesn't think Bothell's needs will suffer" due to holding both posts.
An environmentalist "since college," Duerr says she's particularly interested in transportation and environmental issues. "I'd love to see a low carbon fuel standard and a single-use plastic bag ban," she said.
Duerr said she was "not prepared" to talk about her support for renter protections or progressive taxation, but said she'd be interested in a capital gains tax "depending on where the money goes."
"I don't want to tax for taxing's sake," she added. Duerr seems more interested in using the capital gains tax to ease the burden of more regressive taxes, "but the devil's in the details," she said. Washington state has the most regressive tax system in the country.