By Nate Nehring / Herald Forum
When state Rep. Mike Sells, D-Everett, retires at the end of the month, he will leave a legacy of nearly 50 years of public service (both as a school teacher and as an elected representative) to Snohomish County residents.
As someone who is relatively new to politics, I’ve had the privilege of getting to work with Rep. Sells on a few occasions. Though we belong to different political parties, I have always been impressed by Mike’s dedication to the constituents he serves, his willingness to work across the aisle, and his ability to get things done in Olympia.
When local businesses, labor organizations and educational institutions called attention to the lack of apprenticeship opportunities for our youth, Sells answered the call and led the charge in Olympia to fund the Regional Apprenticeship Pathways (RAP) Program. This program serves 50 Snohomish County high school students each year, connecting them to hands-on training which will prepare them to move on to a successful postsecondary career in the trades. This preapprenticeship program, along with many other pieces of legislation over the years, would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of Mike.
In a time of increasing political polarization, I have a great deal of respect for those who are willing to put politics aside and work with those who they don’t always see eye to eye with in order to accomplish a common goal. That’s exactly how Rep. Sells has operated during the time I’ve known him. Though he is and has always been a staunch Democrat, he has never treated me with anything less than the utmost respect. We could sure use more of that attitude on both sides of the aisle today!
Finally, Mike has not only been someone who cares about his community, but also someone who can move the ball forward in Olympia. The same can’t be said for all legislators; Olympia can be a messy place and it certainly takes skill to maneuver through the process of getting legislation successfully passed and budget priorities secured. The combination of dedication and skill is part of what has made Mike an effective representative for the people of the 38th Legislative District over the years.
While I don’t agree with every vote Sells has taken over his long career, I believe he leaves behind a legacy which deserves to be honored by those of all political persuasions. So, from a Republican to a Democrat, I say “thank you” to Rep. Sells for his years of public service which has benefitted the lives of many in Snohomish County and throughout Washington state.
Snohomish County Councilmember Nate Nehring represents the coucil’s District 1.
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