BREAKING: Jan Drago Appointed To King County Council

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Monday afternoon (Jan. 4th), the King County Council appointed former Seattle City Council President Jan Drago to fill the District 8 seat, taking over from when Dow Constantine became Executive.

Drago won by a unanimous vote after Rep. Joe McDermott’s election stalemated in a 4-4 tie and Councilman Larry Phillips suggested a vote for her.

There were four finalists for the position: McDermott; state Rep. Zack Hudgins, D-Tukwila; Drago; and Rep. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island.

Drago, who failed to make the general election for Seattle Mayor, claims that she will not run for re-election in November 2010.

At one time, four of the 11 original candidates for this vacancy were from the Burien area (Dr. Arun Jhaveri, Lucy Krakowiak; Kathleen Quong-Vermeire, and Shawn McEvoy), as well as two members of the original selection committee (Joan McGilton and Doug Osterman), but in the end none of our peeps got very far.

According to Drago’s Seattle City Council website bio:

Jan Drago has been a member of the Seattle City Council since January 1994, following her election in November 1993.

Prior to her election, she had been a small business owner (Haagen Dazs Ice Cream Shoppes franchise owner, (1980-1991) and a school teacher (1973-1978).

She is a graduate of Douglass College, Rutgers University (B.A., Psychology).

She and her husband Noel are the parents of four sons and two grandsons.

Here’s the council’s official press release:

The Metropolitan King County Council today gave its unanimous approval to the appointment of former Seattle City Council President Jan Drago to fill the vacancy created in County Council District 8 when Dow Constantine was sworn in as County Executive.

“I am honored to be selected to serve the people of District 8,” said Drago shortly after her swearing-in by Superior Court Presiding Judge Bruce Hilyer. “I look forward to working with the Council and the communities and neighborhoods that make up the district on the challenges that we face this year.”

Drago will act as a caretaker in District 8, serving until the certification of the Nov 2010 general election when the new Councilmember for the district will be sworn in.

“Jan Drago is an experienced public official and policy-maker, and I look forward to working with her,” said Council Chair Bob Ferguson.

“Jan will make a wonderful addition to the King County Council,” said council Vice Chair Jane Hague. “She knows the issues facing District 8 and will hit the ground running to serve her constituents well.”

“Jan Drago has a distinguished career serving our community, having been elected to serve Seattle residents four times,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips. “I am confident she will represent the citizens of District 8 well until they have the chance to elect their permanent representative this fall.”

“The residents of King County will benefit from Jan’s experience, especially when it comes to addressing the 2010 budget,” said Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer.

Drago served on the Seattle City Council from 1994 through 2009, having served as Council President for four years and as Chair of the Council’s Budget Committee from 1999-2003. Drago, a graduate of Rutgers University, was a small business owner and school teacher prior to joining the Seattle City Council.

“I was looking for an independent minded person who could work with all of my colleagues,” said Councilmember Reagan Dunn. “With Jan Drago we get that and a wealth of local government experience as well. I’m pleased to welcome her and look forward to working with her between now and November.”

“Jan Drago is an experienced local leader and I look forward to welcoming her as a colleague on the King County Council,” said Councilmember Julia Patterson.

“I look forward to working with Jan Drago on the many complex issues facing King County, “ said Councilmember Larry Gossett. “I am sure that Jan will serve her constituents well over the next 11 months.”

“All the candidates we considered were very qualified,” said Councilmember Kathy Lambert. “We are fortunate to have such talented, informed leaders to choose from. After working with Councilmember Drago at the City of Seattle, I am confident that she can hit the ground running and offer her considerable government and business experience to the County. We appreciate her budget expertise and familiarity with the issues facing King County.”

Drago was selected out of the 11 applicants who applied to replace Constantine. All of the applicants were interviewed by a 12-member advisory committee of community leaders and elected officials who live or work in Council District 8. The advisory committee sent the Council Drago as well as the names of three other candidates:

· Rep. Zack Hudgins—State Representative from the 11th District
· Sen. Joe McDermott—State Senator from the 34th District
· Rep. Sharon Nelson—State Representative from the 34th District

The committee stressed Drago’s proven ability in budget, transportation and labor matters, her strong regional relationships and the potential to strengthen partnerships with the city of Seattle because of her time on the city Council.

UPDATE 5:45pm 1/4/10: Late this afternoon, Councilmember Larry Phillips released this statement, chock full of political irony:

“I made it clear on December 14th with my vote for Senator Joe McDermott that I strongly support him as the best representative to fill the District 8 vacancy. He has an impressive show of support from the people of District 8, has demonstrated leadership as a state senator tackling many of the most pressing issues for our community, and is a historic choice as the first openly gay person to serve of the County Council. I hope to have the opportunity to serve alongside Senator McDermott this fall.

“The council deliberated for many hours over Senator McDermott’s appointment, but—despite having my vote and the vote of three of my colleagues—Senator McDermott was unable to garner the five votes on the Council needed to secure the appointment. Councilmember Jan Drago, who along with Senator McDermott was endorsed by a group of District 8 citizens who vetted the potential candidates, was supported by four other Councilmembers on December 14th while I remained loyal in my support of Senator McDermott.

“The Council has remained at an impasse for the three weeks that followed, with no end in sight. The bottom line is that four votes plus four votes equals zero representation for District 8, and that is unacceptable. It’s is time to end the impasse and end the disenfranchisement of District 8 citizens. They deserve representation as the Council begins taking up business in 2010.

“Councilmember Drago has been elected by the citizens of this community four times, has strong Democratic credentials, and is willing to represent District 8 as a caretaker until the November election. So although Senator McDermott remains my first choice to represent District 8, today I joined my colleagues in supporting Jan Drago for the District 8 appointment.”

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2 Responses to “BREAKING: Jan Drago Appointed To King County Council”
  1. Ian Gunsul says:

    I hope I wake up from this bad dream soon.

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