Senate is familiar territory for Sammamish’s Dino Rossi

July 17, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

State Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson (left) administers the oath of office to former and current state Sen. Dino Rossi, R-Sammamish. Washington Senate Republicans

The next senator for the 5th Legislative District also held the post before the most recent occupant.

Republican Dino Rossi, a Sammamish resident, represented Issaquah in Olympia from 1997 until December 2003. In January 2004, Republican Cheryl Pflug succeeded Rossi and, after Pflug resigned to accept a state board post, King County Council members returned Rossi to the state Senate.

Rossi is not expected to serve for long. The next senator — either Mark Mullet, a Democrat and Issaquah City Council member, or Republican Brad Toft, a Snoqualmie businessman — is due to assume office in late November, after King County Elections certifies the Nov. 6 election results.

Rossi is not a candidate for the seat and, besides, after the November election, the political boundaries for Rossi’s neighborhood shift into the 45th Legislative District due to redistricting.

“This is purely about public service, because my life is plenty busy already,” he said in a statement. “It was easier to take on this responsibility knowing there’s an end point coming later this year.”

In the meantime, Rossi is available if constituents need help to navigate the thicket of government.

Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson swore Rossi into office July 10, a day after council members appointed Rossi. The council also considered Bob Brunjes, 5th District GOP chairman and a Snoqualmie resident, and Kate Kaluzny, a former Issaquah City Council candidate, for the post.

What to know

Constituents can contact state Sen. Dino Rossi in several ways:

GOP officials approached Rossi about the vacancy after Pflug accepted a Washington Growth Management Hearings Board post and withdrew from the election for the seat.

“I didn’t go looking for this but it’s worked out well all around,” he said. “This made the council’s task simpler, the legislative district gets someone with Senate experience and it’s an opportunity for me to serve my neighbors once more while I’m still in the district.”

Rossi is not expected to cast a vote in the Legislature unless the governor calls a special session.

The repeat senator already picked up a familiar committee assignment upon returning to the Capitol. The onetime state budget architect is the Republican leader on the Senate Ways & Means Committee. Rossi replaces 17-year Republican Sen. Joseph Zarelli in the role.

“With Sen. Zarelli having left office, I’ll be glad to lend my budgeting experience should the need arise,” Rossi said.

Other assignments for Rossi include the Judiciary, Health & Long-Term Care and Rules committees.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or Comment at

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