FOLLOWUP: Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon says he won’t run for State Senate

When our area’s State Sen. Sharon Nelson announced last week that she would not run for re-election, the question immediately arose, who will run to succeed her? One seemingly natural successor, State Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon – who had been mentored by Nelson before he joined the Legislature eight years ago – has made his decision: He wants to stay in the House. His announcement today:

After much consideration and receiving much advice, I believe the place I can be the most effective for my district and the issues I care about is in the House of Representatives. I’ll be running for reelection to the House this year, not for the Senate.

2019 can be (and needs to be) a watershed year in the Washington State Legislature on fighting climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. There is great energy and leadership around climate priorities in the Senate right now, and staying in the House lets me focus on building momentum for climate and clean energy progress in our chamber. I’m also motivated to make progress in the House on gun safety, death penalty repeal, multimodal transportation infrastructure, restoring habitat for salmon and other endangered species, and fixing our upside-down tax code.

I also love the team-oriented culture of the House and want to remain a part of a great team, the House Democrats, that I know and love well. I’m confident that our district will choose a great new senator to represent us, who can make the 34th district proud and serve the Senate and the state well.

Thanks to all who provided advice and input as I made my decision. I’d be honored to have your support as I run for reelection.

The official filing period for legislative offices is in mid-May. Rep. Fitzgibbon is one of two State House representatives for the 34th District – which includes West Seattle, White Center, Vashon and Maury Islands, and part of Burien – along with Rep. Eileen Cody. He won re-election four years ago with 82 percent of the vote over another Democrat, Brendan Kolding; Cody and Nelson were both re-elected that year without opponents.

22 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon says he won't run for State Senate"

  • Question Authority April 1, 2018 (4:47 pm)

    West Seattlites Take Heed –  New local resident and Ex Burien City Council member Lauren Berkowitz may put in her hat in that ring.  Google her behavior representing Burien and educate yourself.

    • Question Authority April 1, 2018 (5:59 pm)

      – before it’s too late.

      • BAS April 1, 2018 (8:24 pm)

        Is she the anti-immigrant, alt-Right person? 

        • Alycia Ramirez April 10, 2018 (2:03 pm)

          No,  she’s not. The anti immigrant folks on the council where Debi Wagner (who lost her Re election bid because she tied herself to the freshly minted hate group Respect WA), Bob Edgar (still currently on the council and supported the sanctuary city prop 1) ,and former Burien Mayor and council woman Lucy Krakowiach (still also on the council and signed prop 1 as well as actively funding the right wing candidates last year). 

    • Joey Martinez April 1, 2018 (10:11 pm)

      I hope she runs! She was awesome! She was a part of the reason Burien went from red/purple to Blue! The 34th would love her!  Please run!

      • Question Authority April 2, 2018 (8:15 am)

        Blue colored balloons flying at the gang shootings memorial is more like it.

  • Jeannie April 1, 2018 (8:06 pm)

    Thanks! I googled Lauren Berkowitz, and the only thing I found about her behavior was that she was censured for tweeting during council meetings. She was tweeting about what was happening at the meetings – sort of like taking notes, but sharing the info with her constituents. Actually, that seems reasonable. Most people (other than tRump) are capable of tweeting while listening. Now, if she were tweeting irrelevant stuff or updating her Facebook, that’s a different matter!

    By the way, I’ll miss Sharon Nelson. I appreciated her work.

    • Joey Martinez April 1, 2018 (10:12 pm)

      She fought the criminalization of homelessness in Burien among other things. Fought the councils right wing track at every turn. 

      • Question Authority April 1, 2018 (11:25 pm)

        Exaggerate much?  Now Burien has a huge problem with homelessness thanks to her. 

        • Joey Martinez April 2, 2018 (7:29 am)

          Now who is exaggerating! Burien had this problem with your beloved right wing council (that was recently voted out)! Now we can work to actually fix some of these problems.

        • Alycia Ramirez April 10, 2018 (2:07 pm)

          “Question authority” aka one of the Burien right wingers. 

  • BAS April 1, 2018 (8:29 pm)

    The person I vote for will commit to repealing I-200. Not just a stance against it, but leading the fight to take that racist law out of Washington state code. I really hope we can elevate that issue.

    • DH April 2, 2018 (6:30 am)

      Excellent point! I completely agree 

    • Rusty April 2, 2018 (8:26 am)

      I would love to live in a world where racists and bigots were scarce as well, seems odd that you are calling (synopsis) a “… measure (that) would prohibit state and local government entities
      from discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to any
      individual or group based on race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national
      origin in public employment, public education, and public contracting.
      It would not affect otherwise lawful classifications necessary for
      sexual privacy, medical treatment, undercover law enforcement,
      theatrical casting, and separate-sex athletic teams. The measure would
      not prohibit actions necessary to maintain eligibility for federal
      racist. Maybe talk to some Washingtonians of Asian descent about how these policies have dramatically affected their opportunities. Equal protection under the law for every citizen of this country should be the standard.

      • BAS April 2, 2018 (11:54 am)

        Rusty, I-200 prohibits affirmative action programs. Such programs are meant to restore equity in groups that were historically excluded from participating in public employment, public education, and public contracting. The presence of I-200 creates a status quo effect where minority participation in public institutions is stuck in massive disparity.

        I’m a minority who fought for the repeal of I-200. Quite a few minority advocacy groups were disappointed Sen. Nelson did not bring the I-200 repeal bill to the floor this session. I understand the ultra-Conservatives’ argument about Asian participation, but it’s a misleading argument that fails to understand the way equity/affirmative action programs work.

        After I-200 was passed, the City of Seattle spent 98% of its purchasing with White Male-owned businesses and the state of Washington had a similar percentage. That rate has fallen to a present-day 85% White Male-owned businesses for city purchasing. A recent survey showed 40% of Seattle businesses are women-owned, so how is it fair that they pay taxes into a system that only reinvests 7% of those dollars with them? How is it fair that minorities, who are 35% of the population in Seattle, only have 8% of their tax dollars spent with their businesses. A recent study showed that African American businesses only accounted for 1% of state spending in King County.

        It should be noted both the Seattle police and fire departments have said I-200 has significantly handicapped their ability to diversify their workforce. We will never have racial and gender equity in public employment, public education, and public contracting as long as we have a law that protects the inequity of the status quo. And, by the way, the US Supreme Court has ruled several times that equity/affirmative action programs facilitate the Equal Protection clause of the US Constitution.

        In order to create a more fair and inclusive community, we need 34th District representation that fiercely fights for the dismantling of institutional prejudice.

        • Rusty April 2, 2018 (1:43 pm)

          BAS –

          Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I would disagree with you though – I don’t believe you can ever achieve equity by disadvantaging one group based on appearance (or past wrongs) to favor another. I think that this is inherently the issue – can you ‘right’ a past wrong by switching the disadvantaged group. I believe that in an equitable society, everyone has equal protection under the law, and nobody should have any favored status. I understand that there are inequities – I think these can better be addressed through improving our dismal education system (less indoctrination and more basics + trade school learning paths) and attempts to re-enforce the importance of the family unit (2-parent households) which has shown to be a significant factor in future success. If we focused on equality of opportunity rather than equality of outcome, and did our best to provide  that to all of our kids, we’d be much better off.

          I also am not sure how the Asian participation is a false argument – when you have standards for admittance to universities requiring much higher scores from Asian applicants as opposed to all other groups. That seems pretty simple and straightforward discrimination to me.

          If there is discrimination in state contracts, there are avenues of redress – I-200 explicitly prohibits that, and I’m sure the ACLU would help as well. I would never defend discriminating against anyone based upon their appearance or beliefs – but that’s the point. To live in a society where that is the reality, I think we have to have impartial laws and justice. There’s a reason lady justice wears a blindfold – there may be holes in it, but we should be focused on plugging those, not enlarging them or putting tinted lenses in it’s place.

  • Bill April 1, 2018 (10:24 pm)

    Remember Joe Fitzgibbon whole heartedly supported the legislation that ‘secretly’ crammed through the legislature limiting public access to information and trumpeted it as a matter of principle.  It’s easy to support gun control and saving the salmon but when he was challenged he stood with his cronies against the public interest later ‘apologies’ not withstanding.  When called to the bar he was gutless.

  • MJ April 2, 2018 (9:30 am)

    Does anyone know if Joe has ever worked for a small private business or any employment outside the government?

  • 34 res April 2, 2018 (5:56 pm)

    Lauren Berkowitz is divisive and spends entirely too much energy attacking her own party for not being “progressive” enough.  Conservatives are probably hoping she’ll run because then she’ll use up all of our Blue energy arguing, attacking and shaming people in her own party.  That’s how she works.

    My money is on Amanda K-H!  I hope she’s reading this and I hope she runs!!!

  • Alycia Ramirez April 10, 2018 (2:06 pm)

    If Lauren wants to run I think she should. 

    • Question Authority April 10, 2018 (9:16 pm)

      She ran from Burien when the going got rough, destroy then depart.

  • Alycia Ramirez April 10, 2018 (2:11 pm)

    Pay no attention to these right wing Burien folks, they have nothing better to do with their time.  Keep in mind they run with one of the Respect WA leads,  whose group was just branded by Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group:

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