OLYMPIA – State Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe, has been named state director for rural development for the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington state.
Pearson starts Nov. 13 in the federal position, and will resign his 39th District Senate seat before taking the job. Pearson this week is tying up loose ends after 17 years’ service in the Washington Legislature.
“What I loved most were the friendships I made and the opportunity to serve the people of the 39th District,” Pearson said. “I am looking forward to serving them in a greater capacity, as well as the people throughout Washington state and our great country.”
Pearson, chair of the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee, was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 2000. He joined the state Senate following the 2012 election. His district covers rural portions of Snohomish, Skagit and King counties.
In the Legislature, Pearson has been an advocate for rural communities and for strong leadership on natural resources issues. This year his committee probed management problems at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and passed a Pearson bill, SB 5474, to stop the spread of elk hoof disease among the state’s elk herds. Another Pearson bill, SB 5472, requires a ballot drop-box in every city, town or census-designated location with a post office, allowing voters in smaller communities to save on postage.
Pearson this year also sponsored a measure, SB 5083, requiring notice to sexual assault victims when offenders in their cases petition for their names to be removed from the state sex-offender registry. All three bills have been signed into law.
“I have been proud and honored to represent the people of my area,” Pearson said. “We’ve been through a lot – the Oso mudslide, the concerns for the safety of correctional officers working at the state penitentiary at Monroe, and the statewide concerns about the spread of wildfire. It has been a pleasure working with the many diverse communities of the 39th District.”
Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R- Ritzville, said, “While I am sad to see Senator Pearson leave us, I’m pleased that he will be leading the current administration’s efforts on rural development in Washington.
“Those who live in Washington’s rural areas couldn’t have a better person working on their behalf than Kirk. His appointment will make a big difference for rural economies that often struggle with issues those who live in urban areas can’t relate to.”