Democrats select candidates for 41st District
August 27, 2013
By Christina Corrales-Toy
Mercer Island City Councilwoman Tana Senn emerged as the frontrunner among three possible replacements to fill the 41st District state representative seat vacated by Marcie Maxwell.
Maxwell, a Democrat, resigned her seat July 9 to take a job with the governor’s office. To fill the seat, members of her party nominated three candidates to replace her and presented those nominations to the King County Council.
The 41st district stretches from the northern parts of Renton to the southern parts of Sammamish, encompassing Mercer Island and Newcastle, and parts of Issaquah and Bellevue.
After three rounds of voting Aug. 21, the 41st District Democrats nominated Senn, David Ellis, a former field director with Washington United for Marriage, and businessman and civil rights advocate George Pieper.
The three candidates will now sit for interviews with the County Council in early September, before the council appoints one of them to fill the vacancy.
Senn received the majority of the votes, and even received the support of fellow candidates Ellis and Pieper as the nominee to fill the vacancy, 41st District Democrats Chairwoman Karol Brown said.
If Senn wins the appointment, all three of the lawmakers from the 41st District — the others are Sen. Steve Litzow (R) and Rep. Judy Clibborn (D) — will be from Mercer Island.
Appointed to the Mercer Island City Council in 2012, Senn spent most of her career on nonprofit marketing and government relations.
If selected for the 41st District seat, Senn has plans to run for the position in 2014, according to responses from her candidate questionnaire.
She identified the need to fully fund public education, the creation of a transportation package that fully funds the 520 bridge without relying on Interstate 90 tolls and increasing public safety as the top three issues facing the district.
Ellis, a 2006 graduate of Mercer Island High School, owns a voiceover company.
In 2012, he worked as a field director for Washington United for Marriage, a group that supported the gay marriage referendum. He has also worked on campaigns with the Sierra Club, Environment Washington and the Washington Public Interest Research Group.
Ellis identified fully funding education, protecting the environment and gun safety as the district’s most important issues.
Pieper lives in Bellevue, but his company, OutSmart Office Solutions, is based in Mercer Island.
He has served on the King County Civil Rights Commission and presided over the statewide Washington Stonewall Democrats and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Caucus.
Transportation, education and growth management and economic development are the most important issues facing the jurisdiction, according to Pieper.