SNOHOMISH — Hans Dunshee, a gregarious and influential lawmaker in Snohomish County for two decades, has landed a new political gig in the nation’s capitol.
Dunshee said he began work in October as political director for the Humane Society of the United States in Washington, D.C., a position that will involve him in many electoral battles around the country in 2018.
“I didn’t go looking for this. They asked me if I wanted to do this,” he said. “I like animals. I like the organization. It’s a chance to do good things.”
For Dunshee, the new job and change of scenery helped break him out of what he called a “mid-life crisis” following the abrupt halt to his political career in 2016.
The Snohomish resident served in the state House of Representatives for nearly two decades and held the powerful posts of chairman of the Capital Budget Committee and, for one year, the Appropriations Committee.
But in November 2016, Dunshee lost to Republican Sam Low in a special election to complete the final year of Somers’ term. Low won a full-four-year term in last week’s general election.
With the defeat, Dunshee found himself out of political office for the first time since 1997.
“For me, it’s on to the next adventure,” Dunshee told the Herald at the time. “I don’t know what that is, but I’ll find it.”
He resurfaced on Facebook with the answer in a Nov. 1 posting.
“Hello all. I have been silent for a bit. After losing the 2016 election to a Trump tailcoater I decided to take 6 months off, relax, and explore options. Well the best option seemed to be to do not much,” he wrote.
“But then (the) Humane Society called and asked if I wanted to do political work. Doing good stuff for animals, pretty attractive. Living in DC, not so, but it seemed like a pretty good midlife crisis, so I took the opportunity,” he wrote.
In this new role, Dunshee is working to strengthen the animal protection organization’s political presence in individual states. Next year he’ll be coordinating the group’s involvement at the grassroots level in targeted congressional races around the country.
He’s met with supporters in Arizona, Ohio, Kansas and Illinois so far with similar confabs planned in Washington and Idaho in the not too distant future. His base of operations is in the District of Columbia but he’s keeping his home in Snohomish.
“I’ve never lived anywhere except Western Washington,” he said. “It’s a big move. It’s a great opportunity.”