Alex Ramel was appointed Monday to the state House of Representatives from the 40th District.
Members of the San Juan County Council, Skagit County Board of Commissioners and Whatcom County Council met jointly in Mount Vernon. After separate presentations and Q&As with nominees Ramel, Michael Lilliquist and Marco Morales, Whatcom County Councilman Todd Donovan recommended Ramel be appointed. Skagit County Commissioner Lisa Janicki seconded the motion.
Ramel received the support of two of three San Juan council members, one Skagit County commissioner, and four of six Whatcom County council members. He was immediately sworn in by Skagit County District Court Judge Diane Goddard.
Ramel succeeds Jeff Morris, who had resigned effective Monday to focus on his job as a director of a global smart-tech company. The term expires Dec. 31.
House members are elected to two-year terms and are paid $42,106 per year plus per diem. Representatives introduce and vote on bills and resolutions, offer amendments and serve on committees. There are 98 representatives; currently, 57 are Democrats and 41 are Republicans.
The appointment comes just in time for the 2020 legislative session, which begins Jan. 13.
Ramel, 42, is field director for Stand.earth, an environmental protection organization, and ran for the 40th District state House in 2018. He was the Democratic precinct committee officers' top choice. The committee officers also recommended for consideration Lilliquist, a Bellingham City Council member; and Morales, a migrant education specialist with the Mount Vernon School District and president of the Indigenous Studies Foundation.
Ramel has an undergraduate degree in Environmental Policy and Planning from Western Washington University. He served on the Whatcom Climate Impacts Advisory Workgroup and as chairman of the Kulshan Community Land Trust.
He outlined his priorities to the Anacortes American: Affordable housing and homelessness, fixing the state's transportation and education budgets, climate change, and behavioral health.
"I need to discuss sponsorship with the caucus," he wrote to the American prior to the joint meeting of the county officials. "But I anticipate being a part of putting a price on carbon pollution, fixing the levy cap that is hurting our local school districts, strengthening the Housing Trust Fund, and supporting stable funding to maintain and electrify our ferry service."