Reacting to Thursday’s announcement that a fellow Democrat will move to deny him his seat in the state Senate, Sen.-elect Nick Harper of Everett issued this statement today:
It is insulting and damaging to deny representation to the 38th Legislative District by voting not to seat me in the Senate. During these challenging times for our communities, the people of Everett, Marysville, and Tulalip must have a voice in Olympia. In the words of The Everett Herald: “The 38th District needs and deserves Senate representation.”
My role and mission in the State Senate is very clear. I am here to fight for the interests of the people in the 38th district who elected me with nearly 60 percent of the vote to serve them. I will not let them down.
Along with campaign volunteers, I visited the homes of more than 25,000 of my constituents. I heard about the issues that mattered to their families and what kind of representation they wanted in Olympia. They told me that they were ready for fresh leadership and wanted a Senator who would work hard to improve our schools, strengthen our transit systems, and fight for working families.
Through these conversations, I built a relationship with the people of my district and gained their trust. I was the first choice of the voters in both the Primary and General Elections. This support—and the mandate to serve—was reaffirmed by both our local newspaper (“Senate Should Seat Harper,” The Everett Herald, Nov. 10, 2010) and the Snohomish County Council (Resolution 10-012, Dec. 13, 2010).
To ignore the clear voice of the voters in pursuit of a political grudge is cynical and sets a destructive precedent. A majority of Senate members—of both parties—have received unsolicited support from third party groups, including some that are the subject of ongoing investigations. If we deny service to every duly elected legislator based on the behavior of others we would be violating the trust of the voters, setting a precedent to arbitrarily and subjectively ignore the vote of the people, and devolve into a truly dysfunctional government.
Sen. Berkey’s complaint revolved around an $8,000 independent expenditure in violation of disclosure laws for improperly filed forms. This amount is less than two percent of the combined spending in the campaign, including significant independent support for Sen. Berkey’s own campaign. The ongoing investigations of outside organizations have nothing to do with my campaign or election. My standing as Senator-elect should not be in question, and denying the people of the 38th district a voice would be immoral.
While I respect my colleague’s loyalty to Sen. Berkey, it’s time to put internal political games aside and get to work for the people of Washington. I ask each of my Senate colleagues to stand up for democracy and oppose any resolution that denies representation to the voters of the 38th district.