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December 5, 2011 at 12:10 PM

Pollet appointed to fill 46th District seat

Posted by Bob Young

Gerry Pollet got a grilling this morning from some King County Council members who then voted 9-0 to appoint him to an open state House seat in north Seattle's 46th District.

Pollet was selected by 46th Legislative District Democratic precinct committee officers as the top choice to replace former Rep. David Frockt, who moved up to the state Senate to replace Scott White, who died in October at 41 from heart problems. Pollet, a lawyer and environmental activist, ran unsuccessfully against White in 2008. Sylvester Cann, a former aide to White, and Javier Valdez, a long-time party activist, came in second and third, respectively, in the 46th District voting.

Both Cann and Valdez urged council members to respect the District's replacement process and appoint Pollet. All three are liberal Democrats.

Though officially non-partisan, council members still meet in party caucuses and often vote along party lines. Republicans asked most of the questions of Pollet, Cann and Valdez. Council member Pete von Reichbauer said if he wasn't going to ask questions and just act as a "rubber stamp" then he might as well not attend this morning's meeting. Democrats appeared to have their minds made up, based on their dearth of questions, to appoint Pollet.

Republicans Kathy Lambert, Reagan Dunn and von Reichbauer questioned the three candidates about transportation, education, nuclear waste, initiatives, the state budget and more. Lambert asked Pollet a question the others didn't get: could he provide examples of working "across the aisle" with Republicans? Pollet pointed to his work as an officer for the state Coalition for Open Government, whose president is former GOP state representative Toby Nixon.

Councilmember Bob Ferguson noted that after he won a bitter Democratic primary race against Cynthia Sullivan in 2003, Pollet -- a Sullivan supporter -- was among the first to congratulate him. "I always appreciate the approach of reaching out to people on the other side of hard-fought campaigns," Ferguson said about Pollet.

The state constitution spells out the process to fill a vacant state legislative seat. It calls for the party committee of the party that held the now-open seat to forward three names to the county council, which then makes the final decision by a majority vote.

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