After choosing Rep. Jamie Pedersen to fill mayor-elect Ed Murray’s soon to be vacant state Senate seat, Seattle's 43rd District Democrats, at a special caucus on Tuesday night, selected Brady Walkinshaw to take Pedersen’s spot in the state House of Representatives.
Pedersen, a judicial committee chairman in the house, was unopposed and the group's endorsement of him was widely anticipated. Walkinshaw competed against two other candidates and survived a run-off against 43rd District Democrats chairman Scott Forbes. The other contender for the house seat was Christina Gonzalez, an analyst in King County's Office of Performance, Strategy and Budget.
"I believe we need an activist legislator in Olympia who will fight for social and economic justice," Walkinshaw said in a forum held before the caucus vote.
The district Democrats will forward the names of their choices to the King County Council, which will officially select replacements for the vacant seats. The council usually goes along with a district organization's recommendations.
Casting ballots at Tuesday night’s meeting were 160 precinct committee officers. In the first round of voting for the House seat nomination, Walkinshaw received 80 votes, Forbes 69 and Gonzales 11. In the run-off Walkinshaw received 87 votes and Forbes 71.
A program officer for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Walkinshaw is also the vice chair of the state’s Advisory Board for the Trust for Public Land and a board member at the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, an organization that supports LGBT political candidates. After growing up near Bellingham, Walkinshaw attended Princeton University, where he earned a degree in Public Policy.
During the pre-vote forum, Walkinshaw voiced support for a smorgasbord of progressive causes, including an income tax, increased higher education funding and more highway tolling.
“The transportation package as it stands right now needs to change in order to get my vote as a legislator,” Walkinshaw said. “We need to look at tolling and taxing of our highways and our roadways as a source of progressive taxation.” He went on to say that highway maintenance and transit funding should get more state dollars.
Michael Maddux, Vice Chair for Communications for the 43rd District Democrats, reminded the caucus that their district was safe country when it comes to progressive politics. Attributing this advice to state House speaker Frank Chopp, he said to the crowd, "Some of the best work we can do in the 43rd is to go east and knock on doors."
“We in the 43rd are the big winners tonight,” he also said. “We are going to have tremendous progressive representation.”
Murray will officially leave his state Senate seat on Dec. 31.
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