State senator runs for elections director

Pam Roach, who represents Bonney Lake and Sumner in the state Senate, is hoping to trade one elective office for another.

Pam Roach, who represents Bonney Lake and Sumner in the state Senate, is hoping to trade one elective office for another.

The veteran lawmaker is now among a field of six candidates, all vying for the new position of King County elections director. The job pays $146,000 annually.

The post has been appointed, but that changed with a November mandate of King County voters, who passed Initiative 25. Now, the county’s first elected director will be chosen Feb. 3 when voting wraps up. The race will be decided entirely by mail-in ballots.

The race has no primary election – simply, the candidate with the most votes wins. Aside from Roach, the field has attracted Sherril Huff, current county elections director; David Irons, former county councilman; Julie Kempf, former elections director, who was fired for alleged voting discrepencies that she denies; businessman Bill Anderson; and teacher/political activist Chris Clifford.

Roach, who lives between Enumclaw and Auburn, agrees with voters that the elections post should be an elected position.

“I firmly believe the voters made the right choice by creating a position within county government that has the potential to be independent of the county executive,” noting that she previously worked in Olympia for the change. “King County has, for too long, been subjected to having a political appointee as director,” she said.

Roach said voters have seen “gross incompetence and inadequate accountability and oversight” in the office.

If elected, Roach said she will:

• open the office to public scrutiny;

• be an advocate for the initiative process; and

• confirm that only valid voters are on the King County voter rolls.

In the Senate, Roach represents the 31st Legislative District, which takes in Bonney Lake, Sumner, Enumclaw, Buckley and Auburn.

Reach Kevin Hanson at khanson@courierherald.com or 360-802-8205.

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