Women dominate County politics

January 7th, 2009 by Ken

Although Thurston County Commissioners Cathy Wolfe and Sandra Romero were unable to reach agreement on a new commissioner to replace the retired Bob Macleod, and have kicked it up to Governor Christine Gregorie, it looks like whoever is selected will be a woman.

If Gregorie  selects the first choice of the Thurston County Democrats,  then  Tumwater Councilmember Karen Valenzuela will be the  new county commissioner.  That will be the first time Thurston County government has been in the hands of an all female county commission.

And, its only the second time in Washington state history that three women will have been in the top spots.  The last time was in Kitsap County in 2003.

Even if Governor Gregorie selects the second choice of the Thurston County Democratic party, Susan Bogni, Macleod’s former assistant, we’ll still have three women commissioners.

Women are well-represented in county elected offices.  Women currently serve as county clerk, county treasurer, county assessor and county auditor, all elected positions.  In the past, Thurston County women have also held the prosecuting attorney’s job and the county coronor’s position.

Thurston County is unique in politics.   It’s become the norm that women run and are elected.  As a matter of fact, being a woman on the ballot, here in Thurston County, gives the candidate a five point edge before the campaign even starts.

Thurston County has been represented at the state legislative level by several women, two of whom currently serve us as county commissioner.

The longest serving  elected woman in Thurston County is Karen Fraser who has been elected by the people for more than 35 years.

Karen started out in 1974 as the first woman on the Lacey City Council.  She went on to become the first woman mayor of Lacey.  She was elected as a state representative from the 22nd District and then was elected to serve as Thurston County Comissioner.  She followed that service by being elected state senator from the 22nd District, the position she currently holds.

Women have been duly represented on our local city councils.  And, Lacey has had four women mayors in the last 30 years.

It can truly be said, that in Thurston County, women dominate  politics.

Posted in History, Local Politics, The Real News

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