South County Politics: Legislative leadership, election turnout

State Sen. Marko Liias

Liias to be State Senate majority floor leader

Democratic State Sen. Marko Liias, who has been Senate minority floor leader, will become majority floor leader when Democrats take control of the Senate in January.

Democrats will have a 25-24 Senate majority because a Democrat won a special Nov. 7 election for a seat formerly held by a Republican from east King County.

Liias also will continue to serve on the Senate Transportation Committee and the Senate Rules Committee and will assume roles on the Senate Local Government Committee and the Senate committee on higher education and workforce development.

Liias represents the 21st Legislative District including most of Edmonds, unincorporated areas north of Edmonds and Lynnwood and northeast of Lynnwood, Mukilteo and part of south Everett.

Chase to lead Senate committee on economic development

Democratic State Sen. Maralyn Chase will be chair of the Senate Economic Development and Trade Committee when Democrats take control of the Senate.

When Republicans controlled the Senate, Chase was ranking Democrat on the Agriculture, Water, Trade and Economic Development Committee, which covered some of the same topics covered by the committee she will lead.

Chase said Tuesday that topics dealing with agriculture and water will be covered next year in the Natural Resources Committee.

“The agenda for the Economic Development and International Trade Committee will be substantially changed with greater emphasis on technological and scientific innovation and workforce training and skills development in these new technologies,” she said.

She added that Democrats plan to explain the new jurisdictions and responsibilities Jan. 9, the day after the Legislature convenes for the new year.

Chase also will be a member of the Senate Transportation Committee and of the Rules Committee.

Chase represents the 32nd Legislative District including the city of Lynnwood, part of Mountlake Terrace, south Edmonds, Woodway and nearby unincorporated areas, the city of Shoreline and part of northwest Seattle.

Palumbo to be vice chair of three Senate committees

Democratic State Sen. Guy Palumbo will become vice chair of three Senate committees in the 2018 Legislature: the Local Government Committee; the committee on energy, environment and technology; and the committee on higher education and workforce development.

Palumbo also will be a member of the Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over the state’s operating budget and capital budget.

Palumbo represents the 1st Legislative District, including most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, part of Kirkland, unincorporated areas of King County between Bothell and Kirkland, and unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell including the Maltby area.

Local voters part of record low turnout

Voter turnout in south Snohomish County for the Nov. 7 election was lower than the record-low statewide turnout of 37 percent. The low statewide turnout can be attributed to a lack of state ballot measures.

The Edmonds School District – Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Woodway and nearby unincorporated areas – had a turnout of 33.5 percent.

Turnout was 41 percent in Edmonds, 43 percent in Woodway and 36 percent in Lynnwood and in Brier. It was only 34 percent in Mountlake Terrace despite expected interest in a bond measure for a civic campus.

The lowest turnout in south Snohomish County was the 26 percent in unincorporated areas of Fire District 1, where incumbent Commissioner David Chan won re-election despite fallout from making racially insensitive remarks during a break at a commission meeting early this year. He has since apologized for the comments.

The highest turnout in the area was the 47 percent in the parts of Edmonds, Woodway and nearby areas that make up the Edmonds Port District with its three hotly contested races.

Countywide turnout was 37.5 percent.

–By Evan Smith

Evan Smith can be reached at

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