South Snohomish County residents aren’t the only ones who will feel the loss from Renee Radcliff’s resignation as a state legislator. So will the rest of the county and the state.
Over the past six years, her leadership skills, intelligence and high ethical standards benefited the Legislature and the entire state
She is resigning as a state representative for personal reasons just weeks after winning re-election to a fourth term. Selecting a replacement will be a challenge because of her extraordinary service.
Since Radcliff is a Republican, Republican Party precinct committee officers will choose three nominees from the 21st Legislative District to replace her. The Snohomish County Council will then select one of the three. If the council deadlocks, the decision would go to the governor. The new representative will then face a special election next November.
The 21st District has a tradition of good legislators, so there should be a slate of qualified applicants. The new representative will have a challenging path, though, in trying to reach the level of service Radcliff has provided.
Whoever follows Radcliff would do well to emulate her in the hard work and attention to her district and Snohomish County’s needs. More generally, though, her thoughtful approach to the issues and openness to people are just the qualities that are needed in Olympia now.
Radcliff said she never dreamed that the 2001 state House of Representatives would again be evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. The next Legislature should be able to operate smoothly if both parties remember the lessons they learned about cooperating in the past two years, she said. Without Radcliff as a vice chair of the Republican caucus, though, that will be just a little bit tougher.
Local and state leaders in both parties deeply appreciated Radcliff’s abilities. For the county, it has been particularly valuable to have a legislator so able to set aside political rivalries and build consensus around the needs of the public at home.
Radcliff described serving in the House as the "greatest experience" and said she may someday return to politics. In the meantime, those who want to follow her in the 21st District should look to her six years of service for some of the best lessons possible. She has demonstrated how to be a political leader who elevates both the performance of government and the public’s expectations.
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