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County Council Passes Up Shoreline Residents, Picks Dembowski for Vacancy

Rod Dembowski was appointed as King County Council member Monday, replacing Bob Ferguson. State Rep. Cindy Ryu of Shoreline and Shoreline City Councilman Will Hall were also finalists for the position.

The King County Council passed up two Shoreline residents who were finalists for an open spot on the panel--State Rep. Cindy Ryu and Shoreline City Councilmember Will Hall--and instead unanimously selected Seattle attorney Rod Dembowski.

The Position 1 seat was left open after former councilman Bob Ferguson won election as state attorney general in the November general election over fellow King County Councilman Reagan Dunn. Friends and family joined Dembowski inside the King County Council's chambers for its formal announcement Monday afternoon.

“I am honored to have been given the opportunity to work on behalf of the residents of District 1 and all of King County,” said Dembowski. He thanked the King County Council and personally recognized the help of Bernie Talmas, mayor of Woodinville and Chair of the Eastside Transportation Partnership, and Denis Law, mayor of Renton and president of the Sound Cities Association. Getting right to work, Dembowski said he would attend both the Kenmore and Shoreline city council meetings Monday evening.

Dembowski, a current resident of northeast Seattle, is a partner and real estate lawyer at the law firm Foster Pepper. But he had humbler beginnings in a single-parent household in Renton, where his family sometimes struggled to pay the bills—selling socks at swap meets and getting health care from neighborhood clinics.

“Because of our shared investment in health care for the needy, public K-12 education, and a top-notch public university, I was able to attain my dreams of public service," said Dembowski. "I pledge that I will do everything in my power to pass those opportunities on to the next generation and will work tirelessly to ensure King County remains the best place in the world to live, work, and raise a family.”

Dembowski also thanked his fellow finalists for the council seat.

“I look forward to working with Representative Ryu in the Legislature on behalf of the citizens of King County and I hope to work with Councilmember Hall as we develop regional plans that benefit our suburban cities,” said Dembowski.

The District 1 seat represents north King County, including part of Seattle, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Woodinville, Bothell and the north part of Kirkland.

Dembowski will need to defend his seat in the general election this November. He has already raised more than $70,000 for the race from hundreds of contributors and has announced his plans to hold his seat in November. Over 100 people attended his campaign kickoff Sunday at the Meadowbrook Community Center, where supporters packed the auditorium.

After the appointment, Ferguson immediately announced his endorsement of Dembowski. King County Executive Dow Constantine congratulated Dembowski and thanked the citizen panel that helped select the finalists.

“I have known Councilmember Dembowski for many years and have admired his work as an activist, an attorney, and a community volunteer," Contantine said. “I’d like to thank the members of the 13-member Citizens Advisory Committee that helped me choose an extraordinary group of finalists – Rod, State Rep. Cindy Ryu, and Shoreline City Councilmember Will Hall. I salute the members of the King County Council for their thoughtful consideration of these nominees and I thank them for their decisive and timely action to provide excellent representation to the people of the First Council District.”

Trent Latta February 12, 2013 at 01:37 AM
The council made an excellent choice. Both Representative Cindy Ryu council member Will Hall would have been wonderful additions to the King County Council as well. But Rod will fight hard and will fight right for his constituents.
Don February 12, 2013 at 05:41 AM
Trent, their both Democrats. How in gods name are they wonderful additions? Should Republican's never or rarely represented? Bring me a bucket.
one opinion February 13, 2013 at 02:33 AM
The seat was held by a D, now-AG Bob Ferguson, it should be filled with another D, which all three are-as well as Exec. Constantine (who sent them to council)! Interesting: (1) Another account was the vote at 5-3, with Councilmembers Gossett, Hague and Lambert voting no. Mr. Gossett, the only D of those three, believed that Rep. Ryu would bring "a unique perspective as a woman of color" (though the replacement is for a caucasian male); (2) It has been reported that Rep. Ryu will run for the office next Nov., giving up her seat now...will she still?; (3) It has been reported that Mr. Hall will run as well, holding a campaign event almost 3 weeks ago, but his letter to supporters yesterday said he's only considering his next move, his city seat up for election this fall, too; (4) the other account was that Ferguson endorsed Dembowski this past Sunday, which caused Republican Von Reichbauer to back him, he the fifth and deciding vote from a county council that's evenly split politically. Perhaps he thought that Dembowski, the only one of the three finalists not to hold office, would be the weakest D of the three, which is usually the custom for the opposing party to pick. However, in the council interviews, Dembowski was the most political, introducing attending family, touching anything he'd done re: King County to demonstrate his familiarity with it, e.g. riding a bus, inserting groups of different people who endorsed him at least 3x throughout. It should be a great contest!

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