Chamber CEO out first for Legislature, more to follow

While most of the discussion is pure speculation, there are also several names for the seat floating around in community coffee shops.

Democratic state Rep. Mike Pelliciotti recently took his campaign for state treasurer next year from rumor to fact, and will vacate his legislative seat at the end of 2020.

The first announced candidate to replace him is Chamber of Commerce CEO Becca Martin. Martin moved here five years ago to take the Chamber job when former CEO Patti Mullen moved to Oklahoma for family reasons. Martin has held elected office before, serving on the City of Erie School Board 2003-2007, and as president 2006-2007.

Martin is steeped in economic skills and knowledge, has worked with the current legislative delegation on economic development issues and is always recruiting new business while reminding City Hall of business needs. The Chamber also serves the needs of many of the community nonprofits and integrates business and social service needs into annual planning. With friends, family and loans, Martin has raised about $5,000 and will run as a Democrat.

But she won’t be the last to announce as a candidate.

The next announcement came from Federal Way City Council member Jesse Johnson on Thursday. Johnson defeated incumbent Bob Celski to win his council seat. Some Democrats urgde him to run while others counseled him to get a little more seasoning at the city level first. He has been on the council for two years. He can run without giving up his council seat, which is not up until city elections of 2021. He has about $3,016 left from his council race.

While most of the discussion is pure speculation, there are also several names for the seat floating around in community coffee shops.

I have heard two other City Council names: Hoang Tran and Martin Moore. Tran says absolutely not. Moore has wanted to be in the Legislature since he served as staff to former Democratic legislator Roger Freeman. Moore was a Democrat, but is now a Republican, although he inspired some humor recently when he referred to himself as an “independent Republican.” Not sure what that is?

Another council member in the speculation pool is Lydia Assefa-Dawson. She is unopposed for reelection this year even though she only beat a perennial candidate by four points four years ago. Some wonder why she is putting up campaign signs when she does not have an opponent? Is she creating name familiarity for a legislative run? If that is her plan she will have another problem. The state Legislature is very partisan as is the process to win an election. Assefa-Dawson has said she is a Democrat, but she has supported Republicans. Is she interested? If so she has some work to do regarding which party she belongs to.

If Moore decides to run he may have to answer some questions as well over donations. I have also heard some speculation about Republicans Mark Miloscia, Eric Laiho and former council member Kelly Maloney. And current council candidate Sharry Edwards said earlier she might be interested, but since then the Democrats have censured her and she switched to political independent. Miloscia seems to like his new job and Maloney was planning to move, making both unlikely. Laiho is an employment attorney and a precinct committee officer. He or Moore seem most likely.

The holiday season is when the rumors get more serious, so a few months from now we will have a better idea who is serious.

Legislative seats don’t become vacant very often, although House members only seem to last two to three two year terms. In this blue state, Democrats would seem to have the advantage, but with President Donald Trump on the ballot it will be a particularly unusual political year for the history books. How will the electorate react to the impeachment process?

Next year could be history making and still be fun!

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact