From left, State Sen. Patty Kuderer being sworn in by King County Superior Court Presiding Judge Laura Inveen. Vandana Slatter speaks to the County Council after being sworn in as the newest representative from the 48th Legislative District. Courtesy of King County

Kuderer replaces Habib in state Senate; Slatter fills House seat

Eastside legislator Patty Kuderer will be moving from the House to the Senate next week, having been named the replacement for former state senator and new Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib on Jan. 5.

“I expect that we will be very well-served by Sen. Kuderer. You just bring a level of smarts and diligence,” Metropolitan King County Council member Claudia Balducci said.

The Bellevue lawyer and resident was originally appointed to Ross Hunter’s vacant 48th Legislative District seat in September 2015. She recently won re-election in November with 73 percent of the vote.

Lieutenant Governor-elect Habib’s seat was left empty after his November win.

Kuderer was one of three candidates proposed by state and county democrats. Both groups recommended Kuderer as the first choice, and the sophomore legislator’s selection was a foregone conclusion going into the special council meeting.

“I established a lot of very strong relationships (in the House), both in the democratic caucus and across the aisle… I do think that a lot of this is about relationship building and trust between parties. I think that’s something we could use at the national level and we could continue doing in Olympia,” Kuderer said during the County Council’s special meeting.

Sen. Kuderer did not respond to a request for further comment.

Becky Lewis, a member of the FUSE Board of Directors, and activist Sarah Chandler were also considered for the role. Former Kirkland mayor and current Rep. Joan McBride had reportedly been in the running for the position, but dropped out late last month.

Kuderer’s appointment left her seat in the state House of Representatives empty. Bellevue City Council member Vandana Slatter was selected to fill it from a group containing Redmond resident David Combs and Kirkland entrepreneur Brayden Olsen.

Both Kuderer and Slatter will represent the 48th Legislative District, which includes Redmond.

Habib had urged the County Council to fill his seat quickly, as the state Legislature session begins next week.

“With my resignation from the Senate to take office as lieutenant governor and Senator Roach’s resignation to join the Pierce County Council, there are two vacancies in the Washington State Senate. The precinct committee officers from the 48th and 31st districts have fulfilled their duty by meeting and submitting three nominees for each of these Senate seats, and I urge the King and Pierce county councils to act quickly to fill both vacancies this week so that the Senate can have its full complement of 49 members at the start of session next Monday,” he said in a Jan. 4 statement.

If Kuderer and Slatter want to continue in the Legislature beyond November 2017, both will have to run in the November 2017 general election.

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