The Martin Luther King Jr. County Council voted unanimously today to appoint Javier Valdez as State representative to the 46th District seat held by Jessyn Farrell. Farrell recently resigned from her State House seat to campaign full time as a candidate for mayor of Seattle. Valdez, born and raised in Moses Lake, WA, is the former chair of the 43rd and 46th District Democratic organizations and currently a special assistant on Women and Minority Business Enterprise programming for Mayor Ed Murray.
He was immediately sworn in by King County Superior Court Judge Dean Lum.
“I am deeply appreciative for the faith and confidence the County Council and my fellow Democrats in the 46th District have placed in me to represent them in Olympia,” said Valdez. He added, “I will listen and learn from my constituents while always staying true to my core progressive values.”
Eight hopefuls vied for the vacancy as part of the process that empowers Precinct Committee Officers (PCOs) from the district to recommend their top three choices to the County Council. Valdez emerged on top with 57 percent of the vote in a final run-off with Nigel Herbig, a Kenmore City Councilmember. 90 PCOs were credentialed for the appointment vote on Saturday at Seattle’s Mennonite Church in the Lake City neighborhood. Valdez, Melissa Taylor, and Herbig’s names were forwarded in that order to the County Council for a final vote on Monday. County Councilmember Rod Dembowski, who represents the northend district said “I have known Javier for 25 years. He will be an exceptional legislator and a powerful voice for all of his constituents.”
Mayor Ed Murray said, “In my political career, rarely have I seen a more dedicated and loyal member of our Democratic Party. I have no doubt that Javier will be an effective leader for his district by working with his caucus and across the aisle.”
“I am so proud of Javier,” said former 46th District Rep. Phyllis Gutierrez-Kenney. She added, “He will be a strong advocate for social justice, education and healthcare. He will also be a great role model for up and coming students and future leaders in our community. His hard work and selfless approach will be a tremendous asset for our district and the entire state of Washington.”
Valdez grew up in Moses Lake in central Washington. He is the son and grandson of farm workers and laborers. His mother, a Teamster Union member, worked in a local potato processing plant for 29 years and his father worked in the fields picking crops and as an agricultural laborer until he got a job at the U&I sugar plant. He is the first in his family to graduate from college. The first thing he said after learning he had won the PCO vote was that he had to call his mom since she knew this was a lifelong dream of his.
“My parents taught me an ethic of hard work and an appreciation for how important it was that everyone has a voice. Today we face challenges that deeply threaten the livelihood and quality of life for working-class families and I will always remember where I came from and fight for the rights and needs of everyone in our community,” said Valdez.
Valdez will immediately join the Democratic legislative caucus in Olympia this week in the midst of a second special session called by Governor Jay Inslee to complete the work of passing a state budget.
Dean Nielsen, Principal, Cerillion N4 Partners