The mayor and the senator

Sedro-Woolley Mayor Julia Johnson talks Thursday with State Sen. Keith Wagoner during the Evergreen Elementary School fourth-grade Washington State Float Parade. Wagoner has finished the recent legislative session representing the 39th district. Johnson was appointed mayor of Sedro-Woolley in January, filling the position vacated by Wagoner after he was appointed to represent the 39th district.

With his first legislative session complete, State Sen. Keith Wagoner reflected Wednesday on the ups and downs of his time in Olympia.

The former Sedro-Woolley mayor, who was appointed in January to fill Kirk Pearson’s seat in the 39th Legislative District, said he misses serving in an executive role but is starting to get used to the slower pace of the state Legislature.

Wagoner was appointed to fill Pearson’s seat on Jan. 3 and the legislative session ran Jan. 8 to March 8.

Democrats have a one-seat majority in the Senate, and Wagoner, a Republican, said he was frustrated with the limited power his party had in a Democrat-controlled government.

“It sucks to be in the minority,” he said. “That’s the first lesson I learned.”

However, he said he was proud of the Republican caucus for being a strong presence on gun rights and tax bills.

“Just as a body, we were able to block several things from even coming to a vote,” he said.

As a Skagitonian, Wagoner said one of his biggest disappointments is the way the county was left out of the water rights bill. Going forward, he said he hopes to be a voice for the county in the water debate.

“There is going to be a joint task force on water,” he said. “It’s going to get people back in the room and talking.”

Among the highlights, Wagoner said he was glad to bring back $1.5 million of state money to the Sedro-Woolley library and another $1.5 million for a behavioral health project in the city.

Wagoner is up for re-election this year.

Elizabeth Scott, a former state representative from the 39th Legislative District who was in the running for Pearson’s seat, has announced she will run against Wagoner.

— Reporter Brandon Stone: bstone@skagitpublishing.com, 360-416-2112, Twitter: @Brandon

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