Sen. Fred Jarrett tapped for No. 2 county job

November 17, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

The next No. 2 man in King County government will be Fred Jarrett, the Mercer Island Democrat who represents southwest Issaquah in the state Senate.County Executive-elect Dow Constantine tapped Jarrett for the deputy executive position last week. Jarrett already served as co-chairman of a 30-person transition team Constantine formed after he won the Nov. 3 election.

Issaquah Councilman Fred Butler also serves on the transition team. Besides Butler and Jarrett, the lineup includes elected officials, labor leaders and businesspeople.

Both Constantine and opponent Susan Hutchison, a former KIRO newscaster, indicated during the campaign that Jarrett would have a role in the next county administration.

The deputy will handle some duties once assigned to the chief of staff, and Jarrett will be responsible for how county government operates. Constantine praised Jarrett — a former Boeing executive and past Mercer Island mayor — when he announced the appointment Nov. 10.

“Fred’s willingness to assume this leadership role will assure that the ideas he and I shared on the campaign trail, and those generated by our large, diverse transition team, will be carried forward at the county,” Constantine said in a statement. “I cannot think of a more perfect fit to address the challenges and opportunities that we face while we remain true to our core values.”

Jarrett challenged Constantine and Hutchison in the crowded field for the nonpartisan executive post. Voters knocked Jarrett out of the race in the Aug. 18 primary, though Jarrett and Hutchison took Issaquah precincts.

Because the Nov. 3 vote was a special election to replace former Executive Ron Sims, the next leader will take office Nov. 24, after the election results are certified, instead of the traditional Jan. 1. Sims stepped down in May for the No. 2 job in the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Constantine, a Democrat and former state lawmaker, serves as chairman of the King County Council. He will resign from the council to succeed interim Executive Kurt Triplett.

When Jarrett resigns from the Senate, the County Council will pick a successor from a list of candidates submitted by local Democratic Party leaders. The next senator will serve until next fall, when 41st District voters will elect a replacement to fill the seat until 2012, when the term ends.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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