Girmay Zahilay (District 2) is the newest member of the King County Council. Courtesy photo

Girmay Zahilay (District 2) is the newest member of the King County Council. Courtesy photo

New King County Council members sworn in

The King County Council was sworn in on Jan. 8, with three familiar faces and one new face.

Councilmembers Jeanne Kohl-Welles (District 4), Claudia Balducci (District 6) and Joe McDermott (District 8) were all re-elected in November’s general election. Newcomer Girmay Zahilay (District 2) beat out longtime county council member Larry Gossett and was sworn in with the returning members.

Throughout his campaign in multiple media interviews, Zahilay refrained from criticizing Gossett’s work and tenure on the council. He followed suit during a brief speech on Wednesday.

“He is somebody who I look up to and who I have a lot to learn from, and his work is not done,” Zahilay said. “I’m excited to partner with him.”

Balducci was chosen as the council chair, with fellow members Reagan Dunn and McDermott being selected as vice chairs. Previously, council member Rod Dembowski served as chair.

Committee leadership was also decided. McDermott will head the Committee of the Whole; Kohl-Welles will head Budget and Fiscal Management; Kathy Lambert will chair Community, Health and Housing Services as well as the Regional Water Quality committee; Pete von Reichbauer will head the Government Accountability and Oversight committee as well as the Regional Policy Committee; Zahilay will lead the Law and Justice committee; Dunn will lead Local Services; Dembowski will head the Mobility and Environment committee; and Dave Upthegrove will lead the Regional Transit Committee.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

School lunch. File photo
School district distributes thousands of extra meals amid pandemic

Congress hasn’t renewed the program, which provided twice as many student meals for free last spring.

The Enumclaw Health and Rehabilitation Center, which is located by St. Elizabeth hospital, a senior living community, and a nursing home. File photo
Inslee lifts visitation ban at long-term care facilities

Starting Wednesday, a four-phase plan will allow restrictions at nursing homes to gradually be relaxed.

Courtesy photo/City of Kirkland
Kirkland council puts funds towards community outreach to address racism

The council approved a resolution to work towards ending structural racism, as well as $380,000 in outreach funding.

Screenshot from Gov. Jay Inslee’s press conference on Aug. 5, 2020.
Inslee says schools in virus hot spots should stay closed

King County among high-risk counties; several school districts will have remote learning in the fall.

King County Election headquarters in Renton on Aug. 4 for the primary election. Haley Ausbun/staff photo
Inslee and Culp lead governor race; incumbent Dems ahead for Congress | Statewide results

Early results for governor, state schools chief, attorney general and more.

Democrats dominate King County legislative races | Election results

Here are the latest results for King County legislative candidates in the… Continue reading

Inslee mask graphic
Free mask event for King County residents, Aug. 4 in Bellevue

The drive-thru distribution event will offer two masks per person

Primary election 2020: Who will emerge as Inslee’s challenger?

Voting ends Tuesday in an election without big rallies and fund-raisers and face-to-face debates

Sex ed, local control at heart of race for WA state schools chief

Incumbent Chris Reykdal faces five foes who argue he’s pushing too many state policies on school districts.

Most Read