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.”