King County Council has appointed Democrat Javier Valdez from Northeast Seattle as the new Washington state representative for the 46th District. He'll immediately replace Jessyn Farrell who stepped down in May to run for Seattle Mayor.
Javier Valdez has worked for the City of Seattle for over 20 years. He led the Women and Minority Business Program for Seattle City Light and most recently worked as a policy adviser in Mayor Ed Murray's office. Valdez has also been involved in race and social justice causes throughout his life.
He says there are a few things he already wants to work on in Olympia, including reforming the state's tax system.
Valdez: "Perhaps raising some new capital gains revenue. Also looking at loopholes, there are 694 tax loopholes currently and I would fully favor to look at them to see if there are any we may not need to renew anymore, and then therefore could provide additional revenue."
Among other topics, he also wants to reduce barriers for women and minority owned businesses and wants to see the state Democratic Party use a presidential primary system in 2020 instead of caucuses.
King County Council members say that they're proud to appoint Valdez, a Mexican-American man who grew up in Eastern Washington, to help lead the state in the current political climate. Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles says she's known Valdez since the '90s.
Kohl-Welles: "He has over and over and over again demonstrated his leadership abilities, his commitment to equity and social justice, and his willingness to step up for this critically important job."
Valdez is starting his term at a time when lawmakers are struggling to reach a budget deal and are nearing a partial government shutdown.
He’ll serve the rest of Farrell’s term, which runs through the end of 2018. The King County Council appointed him instead of holding an election since the seat came open mid-term.