Girmay Zahilay (District 2) is the newest member of the King County Council. Courtesy photo

Girmay Zahilay (District 2) is the newest member of the King County Council. Courtesy photo

New King County Council members sworn in

The King County Council was sworn in on Jan. 8, with three familiar faces and one new face.

Councilmembers Jeanne Kohl-Welles (District 4), Claudia Balducci (District 6) and Joe McDermott (District 8) were all re-elected in November’s general election. Newcomer Girmay Zahilay (District 2) beat out longtime county council member Larry Gossett and was sworn in with the returning members.

Throughout his campaign in multiple media interviews, Zahilay refrained from criticizing Gossett’s work and tenure on the council. He followed suit during a brief speech on Wednesday.

“He is somebody who I look up to and who I have a lot to learn from, and his work is not done,” Zahilay said. “I’m excited to partner with him.”

Balducci was chosen as the council chair, with fellow members Reagan Dunn and McDermott being selected as vice chairs. Previously, council member Rod Dembowski served as chair.

Committee leadership was also decided. McDermott will head the Committee of the Whole; Kohl-Welles will head Budget and Fiscal Management; Kathy Lambert will chair Community, Health and Housing Services as well as the Regional Water Quality committee; Pete von Reichbauer will head the Government Accountability and Oversight committee as well as the Regional Policy Committee; Zahilay will lead the Law and Justice committee; Dunn will lead Local Services; Dembowski will head the Mobility and Environment committee; and Dave Upthegrove will lead the Regional Transit Committee.

More in News

Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent, the primary sponsor of SB 5323, speaking on the bill. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Sabio-Howell)
Proposed law adds a fee to plastic bags at checkout

Senate passes bill to ban single-use plastic bags, place 8-cent fee on reusable plastic bags.

Development has encroached on the East Lake Sammamish Trail (at right). Joe Livarchik/file photo
King County files lawsuit to finish East Lake Sammamish Trail

Homeowners have until September to remove buildings and other property from the right of way.

Bellevue residents Marko and Karla Ilicic play a hockey game in the Topgolf Swing Suite inside Forum Social House. Natalie DeFord/staff photo
Forum Social House opens in Bellevue

Eastside gets new nightclub, mini golf, swing suites.

In November 2019, Washington voters approved Initiative 976, which calls for $30 car tabs. Sound Publishing file photo
Republicans try to guarantee $30 car tabs amid court hangup

Lawmakers sponsor companion bills in the House and Senate.

A holistic approach to government: Forsythe joins Redmond City Council

The new councilmember hopes to address issues relating to the environment, infrastructure and representing all of Redmond.

King County Metro’s battery-electric bus. Photo courtesy of kingcounty.gov
King County could bump up Metro electrification deadlines

Transportation generates nearly half of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

Gov. Jay Inslee delivered his 2020 State of the State Address on Tuesday, Jan. 14. (Photo courtesy of Washington State Office of the Governor)
Gov. Inslee delivers State of the State Address

By Leona Vaughn, WNPA News Service OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee stood… Continue reading

A 50-minute film called “Spawning Grounds,” which documents the effort to save a freshwater variety of kokanee salmon from Lake Sammamish, is finally ready for its debut in North Bend on Jan. 18. (Screenshot from film)
Spawning Grounds: Lake Sammamish kokanee documentary premieres Jan. 18

The film tracks the ‘all hands on deck’ effort to save the little red fish from extinction.

LWSD closed Monday due to snow; Redmond plows working to improve road conditions

District-wide closures can be complicated due to LWSD’s 76-square-mile footprint and varying microclimates.

Most Read