The seat being vacated by Sen. Rosa Franklin already has drawn one hopeful: Rep. Steve Conway, who represents the 29th District in the House.
Conway told me today he has decided to run. He praised Franklin and noted he took her House seat in 1993 when she moved up to the Senate. “I’m kind of following her, I guess would be the word,” Conway said.
Conway, 65, the secretary-treasurer of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 81, has a reputation as a champion of labor.
He’ll give up his position in the House, where he is a nine-term veteran and chairman of the influential Commerce and Labor Committee, to try to win a seat in the Senate, where he would have to start building up seniority again.
“In the Senate you have an opportunity to do a lot more for the district,” he explained. “There will be an opportunity for me in the Senate to continue the work that I’ve been doing in the House.”
Conway also released a statement:
Last night at the 29th District Democratic Club, Senator Rosa Franklin announced her decision to retire and not run for election this Fall. Her announcement came as a surprise to all in attendance. Representative Steve Conway said, “Rosa Franklin is synonymous with the 29th legislative district, given her two decades of service to us. She is deeply loved by her constituents. She listens, she cares and she gets the job done. Rosa is the first African-American woman to serve in the Washington State Senate and as Senate Speaker Pro Tem. Senator Franklin has written her name into Washington State political history.”
After serious deliberation and visits with many constituents, Representative Conway has decided to file for the position of 29th District State Senator during candidate filing week – June 7, 2010 and stand for election in the August primary. Representative Conway will take to the Senate, 18 years of experience and leadership of moving legislation through Olympia to benefit the working families of the 29th District and WA State. He stated that, “As Senator, I will have an even greater opportunity to achieve the goals that have motivated me in serving the 29th District such as building family wage employment, strengthening education and training opportunities, pursuing health care reform, and making our neighborhoods safer.”