Alex Ramel, a well known and respected local environmental activist, was selected today to fill the vacant seat as 40th District state representative to Olympia. Alex was chosen by a vote of three county governments at a special meeting this afternoon. The 40th stretches over southern Whatcom County, western Skagit County, and all of San Juan County.
He will serve the last year remaining on the two-year term of Jeff Morris, who resigned suddenly within less than a year of being reelected. [earlier term length error has been corrected] Alex will no doubt run next fall for the full two year term. He ran in November, 2018, for the seat held by Kris Lytton when she retired at the end of her term - an honorable departure. That seat was won by Debra Lekanoff. Alex will join her in Olympia next week to help represent the 40th.
Michael Lilliquist also applied for the vacant seat and was a finalist along with Marco Morales and Alex. For years, Michael has had his sights set on being elected mayor of Bellingham. With that possibility now removed for perhaps the next 8 or 12 years, he has signaled a turn to Olympia for his future. We must ask him about this if he chooses to run for reelection on our City Council. For the past few years, we have had a bad record of elected officials looking for other jobs even as they run for office. Rud Browne is the poster boy for this practice and, yes, he also applied for this vacant 40th District seat but was eliminated weeks ago when the field was pared down to three candidates.
My congratulations to Alex Ramel. He has the skills, experience, and attitude to be a good, progressive representative in Olympia of our interests here in Whatcom, Skagit, and San Juan counties.