With 16 months left until November 2012, it’s early to be declaring for the Legislature, but some candidates are already jumping in. The latest is an attorney who has filed some of the region’s most high-profile lawsuits against state government.
Jack Connelly, a North End Tacoma Democrat, announced today he would run for the seat in the state Senate opening up with Debbie Regala‘s retirement in 2012.
Connelly grew up in the area and has been practicing law in Tacoma for 30 years, he said. His targets have included companies, local governments — and the state, which has settled for big, even record-setting amounts.
Most recently, he has filed a claim against the state on behalf of widows of two slain Lakewood police officers, saying the Department of Corrections mishandled the supervision of Maurice Clemmons.
Connelly said his cases “make a difference” and he hopes in the Legislature he “can continue that work, but can do it on a much broader scale.”
Unlike in 1996, when Connelly ran for the House and lost to Republican Mike Carrell, he is in the solidly Democratic 27th District.
The 27th’s two House members, Reps. Jeannie Darneille and Laurie Jinkins, said they haven’t yet decided on their 2012 plans. Darneille said she believes one of the pair will run for Senate.
Here’s Connelly’s press release:
Jack Connelly Announces Candidacy for open 2012 State Senate Seat in 27th District
Tacoma, WA – Tacoma attorney John “Jack” Connelly has announced his candidacy for the Washington State Senate in Tacoma’s 27th District in 2012 citing the need “for the right, fundamental priorities in state government”.
Connelly, is seeking to represent the 27th Legislative District to fill the vacant seat left by Senator Debbie Regala when she retires at the end of her term in 2012.
“I have long admired Senator Regala’s advocacy for the less fortunate in Olympia. For nearly 20 years, Senator Regala’s record of accomplishment has shown her to be a true champion for families and children. I am excited to have the opportunity to continue that work to ensure that even in these difficult economic times, the 27th District will be well represented and that the less fortunate and vulnerable will have a strong advocate in state government”.
Connelly has been practicing law in Tacoma for 30 years. His law firm is located in Old Town Tacoma. Connelly grew up in the Tacoma area, is a graduate of Lakes High School, Stanford University and attended law school at Hastings (University of California, S.F.). He serves on the Board of Trustees of the Tacoma Library, is a past-president of the Washington State Trial Lawyers’ Association, a member of the Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital Society, the Old Town Business District, and has previously served on the boards of Catholic Community Services SW, Lakewood Communities in Schools, and Clover Park Technical College. He is also a member of the board of the Martin Luther King Housing Development Association, a member of the Sierra Club and the Washington Environmental Council.
Connelly feels strongly that new voices are needed in Olympia and that legislators must work together on both sides of the aisle to address current budget and economic concerns. “We are living in a critical time – a time when the right priorities in Olympia are needed. In the Senate, my efforts will be focused on using my background and experience to avoid the partisan games, set aside the old ways of conducting business, and work to promote small business opportunities, create meaningful, environmentally friendly job growth, and ensure that we are providing quality education and opportunities for our youth.”
“My family and I live in Tacoma. Tacoma is an outstanding family City and we need to make sure we are at the forefront creating opportunities for our citizens and leadership in overcoming economic difficulties. I’m running to make sure that the City of Tacoma is leading the way in Olympia.”
The 27th Legislative District includes Northeast Tacoma, downtown Tacoma, North Tacoma, East Tacoma, Hilltop, the Port of Tacoma, the Town of Ruston, and a portion of the City of Fife.