She hopes to replace Sen. Debbie Regala, who will retire next year. Even though the election is more than a year away, there are now two declared candidates for the Senate seat, Darneille and attorney Jack Connelly.
Darneille, a Democrat and consultant to nonprofits, has represented Tacoma’s 27th District for 11 years.
She had been mulling over the possibility of a Senate run while considering what kind of a leadership post she might draw if she stayed in the House. As vice-chairwoman of the budget committee, she stood to rise to the powerful chairman’s position if Rep. Ross Hunter had run for a different office. Darneille’s decision implies she thinks Hunter is staying put.
The other House member from the 27th, Laurie Jinkins, has said she would support Darneille if she ran.
Here’s her news release:
JEANNIE DARNEILLE ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR OPEN 2012 STATE SENATE SEAT IN 27TH DISTRICT.Jeannie Darneille, a 32-year Tacoma resident and 11-year State Representative (27th Legislative District, Position 2), announces her intention to run in 2012 to fill the State Senate seat that will open with the retirement of Debbie Regala. The 27th Legislative District currently includes Ruston, a portion of Fife, and many areas of Tacoma (downtown, Northeast, North End, Central/Hilltop, Eastside, Port).
First elected in 2000, Representative Darneille currently serves as Vice-Chair for the House Ways and Means Committee, is a member of the State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee, chairs the Washington Caseload Forecast Council, and serves on the Governor’s Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS. Earlier legislative leadership included Chair of the General Government Appropriations Committee and Vice-Chair of the House Democratic Caucus.
In addition to serving in the Legislature, Darneille is a consultant to non-profit organizations in transition, and has provided interim executive or management leadership to United Cerebral Palsy of South Puget Sound, Hospitality House shelter for women, the Korean Women’s Association, and Tacoma Community House. Darneille previously served as Executive Director of the Pierce County AIDS Foundation and the Emergency Food Network. She worked for the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, where she led the team effort to establish ZooLights in 1988, and also worked at the YWCA Women’s Resource Center and Tacoma Community College after moving to Tacoma in 1979.
Darneille is best known for her commitment to improving the lives of persons who are poor, disabled, or disenfranchised. During the 2011 session, she led the process to reform and save the GAU/Disability Lifeline program and worked for nearly a decade to restore voting rights to former felons. Darneille is the founder of the Pierce County Asset Building Coalition and is nationally recognized for her work helping low-income families create or restore their personal safety nets. She has secured funding for many local projects, including upgrades to Cheney Stadium and the University of Washington – Tacoma, and took leadership in keeping the Washington State History Museum open.
Darneille and her husband Howard have three adult sons (Brian, Tom and Will) and live in Tacoma’s North End. She is the oldest of six siblings raised in an Air Force family. “I had a wonderful upbringing, attending high school in three countries before graduating with a B.A. from Western Washington University and an M.Ed. from Colorado State University.” She has served on numerous boards of directors, including Tacoma Community House, the Breast Cancer Resource Center, the American Leadership Forum, City Club, and Associated Ministries.
“I understand the needs of families struggling to make ends meet. I am a proven community leader and have worked for over thirty years to improve services for persons who are disabled and for people in need. In the legislature, I work to increase educational opportunities for all learners; expand health care for children, families, and persons who are disabled; develop a safe environment for children and adults to learn, grow, and thrive; safeguard civil liberties; and promote economic opportunities to create living-wage jobs that improve the well-being of families. It is an honor to represent the people of the 27th Legislative District in the state House of Representatives and I appreciate the support of the voters over the last 12 years. ”