Even though the State Legislature‘s session isn’t over yet, Democratic legislative staffers have voted on this award – and given it to Rep. Sharon Nelson, serving her first full term representing the 34th District, which includes West Seattle. She’s shown above with the plaque and her legislative assistant Joe Fitzgibbon; we heard about it last night and asked him for more details – read on for the official announcement we’ve received in reply:
Rep. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, was picked by aides of her 62 fellow
Democrats as the Legislator of the Year.
“Sharon Nelson treats everyone with respect,” said Kim Moores, legislative aide to Rep. Kathy Haigh and chair of the staff committee that gives the award. “When this award was first introduced two years ago there was a certain criteria that helped guide our decision.This award was about all the qualities that add up to being an effective legislator. Sharon Nelson is a shining example of those qualities.”
The Legislator of the Year Award was established to recognize outstanding leadership and professionalism within the House of Representatives, with voters considering the ability to work across party lines and with people of differing opinions to create good policies for all Washington citizens. All the staff assembled in the caucus room off the floor of the House to present Nelson with the award.
“Having our team of 62 Democratic lawmakers and their staff in one room at the same time is amazing,” said Rep. Dawn Morrell, caucus chair. “Sharon deserves this award — everyone who works with her comes away impressed. And they should be.” Nelson is serving her second term in the House of Representatives, and she serves as vice chair of the Local Government and Housing Committee. According to Moores, the Legislator of the Year exhibits Democratic values in the workplace by striving always to:
Build strong teams
Promote and protect staff
Manage resources productively
Wield power prudently and justly
Be mindful of professional boundaries
Keep appointments and other commitments
Recognize the accomplishments of others
Communicate clearly, courteously and effectively
Create partnerships extending beyond party, chamber or region
Cultivate policies for the long-term benefit of all citizens of our state
Inspire others through respectful, generous, stalwart and trustworthy leadership.
Each representative has one full-time aide to coordinate communications, research and outreach for his or her district.
“Nobody gets a closer look at lawmakers than we do,” said Norma Wallace, legislative aide to Rep. Geoff Simpson and vice-chair of the staff committee. “We see them behind closed doors, at their best and their worst, under tremendous pressure, and Sharon Nelson deserves this honor for her grace and calm. Having served as staff to a public figure herself, I believe Representative Nelson is sensitive to issues Legislative Assistants deal with behind the scenes. The L.A.’s are on the front line for their members in constituent contact to trust and teamwork is essential.”
A plaque saluting Nelson as the 2009 Legislator of the Year will be placed in the House of Representatives Democratic Caucus room in the Legislative Building in the state capital.