Kuderer replaces Cyrus Habib in WA Senate

Bellevue City Council member Vandana Slatter appointed to Kuderer’s House seat

Eastside legislator Patty Kuderer will be moving from the House to the Senate next week, having been named the replacement for former-state senator and new Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib on Jan. 5.

Former Bellevue City Council member Vandana Slatter was chosen that same day to fill Kuderer’s House seat. Their appointments make history as the first time the 48th District has been represented by two women.

“I expect that we will be very well-served by Sen. Kuderer. You just bring a level of smarts and dilligence,” Councilmember Claudia Balducci said.

The Bellevue lawyer and resident was originally appointed to Ross Hunter’s vacant 48th district seat in September 2015. She recently won reelection in November with 73 percent of the vote, but decided to throw her name in the ring for the Senate seat left empty after Habib’s November win because she felt her voice would be better heard.

“[The Senate] is a smaller body, and I feel that my voice will have more impact,” she said. “I care very passionately about issues that affect 48th, as well as state as a whole.”

Kuderer was one of three candidates proposed by state and county democrats. Both groups recommended Kuderer as the first choice, and the sophomore legislator’s selection was a foregone conclusion going into the special council meeting.

“I established a lot of very strong relationships [in the House], both in the democratic caucus and across the aisle… I do think that a lot of this is about relationship building and trust between parties. I think that’s something we could use at the national level and we could continue doing in Olympia,” Kuderer said during the County Council’s special meeting.

Sen. Kuderer did not respond to a request for further comment.

Becky Lewis, a member of the FUSE Board of Directors, and activist Sarah Chandler were also considered for the role. Former Kirkland mayor and current Rep. Joan McBride had reportedly been in the running for the position, but dropped out late last month.

Kuderer’s appointment left her seat in the state House of Representatives empty. Slatter was selected from a group containing Redmond resident David Combs and Kirkland entrepreneur Brayden Olsen.

Habib had urged the King County Council to fill his seat quickly, as the state Legislature session begins next week.

“With my resignation from the Senate to take office as lieutenant governor and Senator Roach’s resignation to join the Pierce County Council, there are two vacancies in the Washington State Senate. The precinct committee officers from the 48th and 31st Districts have fulfilled their duty by meeting and submitting three nominees for each of these Senate seats, and I urge the King and Pierce County Councils to act quickly to fill both vacancies this week so that the Senate can have its full complement of 49 members at the start of session next Monday,” he said in a Jan. 4 statement.

Vandana Slatter – Contributed photo

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