Federal Way City Council member Jesse Johnson was officially appointed on Monday as the 30th District representative to replace Kristine Reeves in the state Legislature.
Johnson beat out fellow nominees Jamila Taylor and Sam Rise for the appointment, both of whom congratulated Johnson on the win.
Neither can speak to their next steps currently, though both view the future as full of possibilities.
Several King and Pierce county council members spoke in favor of the decision to appoint Johnson, citing him as being the highest voted nominee by the 30th District Democrats, as well as his work in higher education and as a Federal Way Council member.
King County Council member Pete von Reichbauer announced Johnson as the chosen appointment for the seat Reeves vacated seat in December, and said his decision was because of Johnson’s connection to caring for the present and future of the local community.
“He is quite frankly a great reflection … of this community,” von Reichbauer said.
King County Council member Dave Upthegrove also supported Johnson’s appointment, and told him he had big shoes to fill as Reeves’ replacement.
Upthegrove added there was not a single nominee that he would not have the honor to work with in Olympia.
Pierce County Council member Connie Ladenburg spoke to Taylor and Rise, telling them not to give up though this may be disappointing news.
“There is a future for you because you are great people and I really do want to encourage you to continue on,” she said.
Johnson was sworn into office shortly after his appointment by Federal Way Judge Dave Larsen in the council chambers.
He said he is thankful for the opportunity and excited to begin working on issues that are important to the community.
“I have viewed much of my work on the City Council through the lenses of equity, inclusion and social justice and will continue to weave these important values into my work in Olympia,” Johnson said.
The 2020 legislative short session begins Monday and will continue for the next 60 days.
On the second day of the 2020 Legislative Session, “Johnson has met with constituents, attended two committee hearings, co-sponsored a housing justice bill and begun the process of hiring a legislative assistant,” according to a press release.
“People are counting on me to represent our community and the people I grew up with, who have kids in the school district I graduated from, and who have seen cost of living go up long after they have retired, they need a representative ready to hit the ground working, so that’s what I’m doing,” said Johnson after his second committee hearing of the day.
“I wish him the best of luck in this new public service role,” she told the Mirror.
Reeves stepped down from her seat on Dec. 16, 2019 and is currently starting her campaign to represent Washington’s 10th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.