EVERETT — Democratic state Rep. June Robinson became a state senator Wednesday after the Snohomish County Council unanimously chose her to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of John McCoy.
“It is very humbling to get this support,” she told the council. “I hope I make you all proud in Olympia.”
A short time later, the five councilmembers appointed Emily Wicks of Everett to replace Robinson in the House.
“It is an honor to be in this seat,” Wicks said in an interview following the decision. “I look forward to making a positive impact on this community.”
The appointments will last until certification of the November election as both seats are on the ballot this fall.
The County Council chose Robinson from a list of three nominees submitted by the Democrats of the 38th Legislative District which includes Everett, Tulalip and part of Marysville.
It was not a surprise. Robinson emerged as the overwhelming choice of elected precinct officers at a May 2 meeting. And Tuesday she received public endorsements from Ryan Casey and Jennifer Smolen, the party’s other two nominees for the seat.
Robinson has served in the state House since December 2013 and served as vice-chairwoman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee. She’s been in the middle of tense budget negotiations in recent years and was a driving force behind legislation establishing Washington’s paid family leave program.
She is a former program manager at Public Health Seattle & King County and, before that, served as executive director of the Housing Consortium of Everett and Snohomish County.
This fall, voters will choose someone to complete the remainder of McCoy’s term and Robinson has filed as a candidate.
“The Senate is fortunate to welcome a public servant of June Robinson’s caliber and experience,” Senate Majority Leader Andy Billig, D-Spokane, said in a statement. “Her public health background, budget experience and expertise in affordable housing are especially important now to the Legislature and the entire state.”
While the council needed no time to find a successor to McCoy, who retired in April, it spent a few minutes behind closed doors discussing who should serve in the House.
Democratic Party activists nominated Wicks, Charles Adkins and Mario Brown at the May meeting. Adkins garnered the most votes of precinct officers, edging Wicks by a margin of 20-18 on the second ballot, with Brown receiving three votes.
All three made strong cases for the appointment. Council members made no statements prior to voting.
Wicks grew up in Marysville and now lives in north Everett. She owns a firm which consults for nonprofits and small local governments, and is a former communications director for the Marysville School District.
She also has a bounty of political experience. She is president of the state chapter of the National Women’s Political Caucus. She served as deputy finance director for Gov. Jay Inslee’s 2012 gubernatorial campaign and worked as a legislative aide for Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib when he served as a House member.
On his resume, Adkins notes that he is a special projects manager for Snohomish County Treasurer Brian Sullivan and regional engagement coordinator for the Mockingbird Society, which provides support and services for young people at risk of or experiencing foster care or homelessness. He’s also a contract lobbyist in Olympia.
Brown is administrative assistant for business relationships for the Washington Music Educators Association and a former chairman of the Snohomish County Democratic Party.
This fall, voters will elect someone to a two-year term in the seat. As of Wednesday, all three had formed political committees, a precursor for running, but only Wicks had filed to be a candidate.
Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald net.com. Twitter: @dospueblos.