Two Snohomish County legislators close out careers

OLYMPIA — Snohomish County lawmakers Mary Helen Roberts and Mike Hope have cast their final votes as state representatives.

That’s because the 2014 session ended Thursday, no special session is looming and both of them are leaving office when their terms expire at the end of the year.

“I’ve really enjoyed this legislative session,” said Hope, a Republican from Mill Creek. “I’m definitely happy I won’t be having any more special sessions.”

Roberts, a Lynnwood-area Democrat, departed on a high note. Her bill providing additional services to youth in foster care was the final legislation voted on by the state House.

“To me it’s a gift,” she said in what turned out to be a farewell floor speech. “I get to have the last word on the last day of my last session. It has been an incredible journey.”

Roberts will step down after a decade representing the 21st Legislative district in south Snohomish County. It encompasses Edmonds and unincorporated areas abutting Lynnwood and south Everett, including Paine Field.

A former trustee for Edmonds Community College, she worked tirelessly on behalf of children, especially those in foster care and whose parents were behind bars. She also sought to expand treatment options for people with mental health and substance abuse problems rather then sent them jail.

Rep. Lillian Ortiz-Self, D-Mukilteo, lauded Roberts as a “champion for those who’ve been forgotten” and “a voice for the voiceless” during a House tribute to the retiring lawmaker last week.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers repeatedly applauded her passion and conviction for assisting children and families. They also praised her Karaoke skills and joked about her penchant for taking notes on every bill discussed in Democratic caucus meetings.

Rep. Tami Green, D-Lakewood, fought back tears as she spoke.

“She’s not a flashy legislator. She didn’t want to be honored today,” Green said. “Her work here will be remembered mostly by the children she’s helped.”

Hope is completing his third term representing the 44th Legislative District which includes Mill Creek, Lake Stevens and Snohomish.

A former Seattle police officer, he now works as a financial adviser with Morgan Stanley.

A political moderate, he was the lone Republican supporter of a bill to require background checks on most private sales of handguns in 2013. A year earlier, following the murder of four Lakewood police officers, he sponsored the constitutional amendment passed by voters giving judges discretion to limit bail for the most dangerous repeat criminals.

But when the House paid him tribute last week, many mentioned the muscular Hope’s acting aspirations and beefcake photos posted on his IMDB site.

“I’ve tried some of those poses,” joked Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, who also represents the 44th District.

Dunshee, who defeated Hope in 2004 and 2006, praised him for becoming a partner on many pieces of legislation.

“You’ve been good for constituents. You’ve been good to work with,” he said.

Hope did not introduce any bills in his final session, saying he was content to take it all in.

“I’m going to miss this,” he said as he looked out on the House chamber. “It’s an amazing place but I’m ready for a new chapter in life.”

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com

More in Local News

Everett district relents on eminent domain moving expenses

Homeowners near Bothell still must be out by April to make way for a planned new high school.

Their grown children died, but state law won’t let them sue

Families are seeking a change in the state’s limiting wrongful-death law.

Officials rule train-pedestrian death an accident

The 37-year-old man was trying to move off the tracks when the train hit him, police say.

Ex-Monroe cop re-arrested after losing sex crime case appeal

He was sentenced to 14 months in prison but was free while trying to get his conviction overturned.

Marysville hit-and-run leaves man with broken bones

The state patrol has asked for help solving an increasing number of hit-and-run cases in the state.

Everett man killed at bar had criminal history, gang ties

A bar employee reportedly shot Matalepuna Malu, 29, whose street name was “June Bug.”

Front Porch

EVENTS Autoharpist in Everett Folksinger, storyteller and autoharp virtuoso Adam Miller returns… Continue reading

Shock from WSU suicide ripples through Snohomish County

Roughly 1 in 10 seniors, sophomores and 8th-graders said they had attempted to take their own lives.

$1,000 reward for info on who killed an eagle near Snohomish

After being shot, the raptor was treated at the Sarvey Wildlife Center but died overnight.

Most Read