Meet the Wash. State House Transportation Committee Democrats

Seven newly elected Representatives will join the Wash. State House Transportation Committee and examine transportation issues. Image – Quiltsalad, Flickr.

The Washington State House Transportation Committee’s Democratic side will have seven new members and ten returning members when the Legislature convenes on January 14. Several new members are no rookies when it comes to transportation, as you’ll read below. We’ll feature the Republican members in an upcoming story.

Democrats control the House with a 55-43 margin. Representative Judy Clibborn (Mercer Island) returns as chair, and Rep. Marko Liias (Lynnwood) returns as Vice Chair. They are joined by two new Vice Chairs: newly-elected Jacob Fey (Tacoma) and returning Committee Member Luis Moscoso (Mountlake Terrace).

Mocoso commented:

“I am honored to assist in vice chair responsibilities. My background in transit gives me a real hands-on perspective in working on these issues,” said Moscoso, who worked at Community Transit for 25 years as a Transit Operator, Union President and finally as Organizational Improvement Specialist on the organization’s Executive Team.

“Transportation infrastructure and transit have languished for years; it’s time to get Washington moving again. To do so we need a robust, multimodal statewide transportation plan that includes the highway and transit investments necessary to meet system maintenance and operation demands,” (“Rep. Moscoso to vice-chair Transportation Committee,” Washington State House Democratic website).

Six newly elected Representatives join the Committee:

Steve Bergquist, Renton. Bergquist is a public school teacher and small business owner. Learn more about Bergquist from his campaign website. Bergquist’s 11th District includes parts of South Seattle, Burien, Sea-Tac, Tukwila and the southern part of Renton.

Jessyn Farrell, Seattle. Farrell is the former Executive Director at the Transportation Choices Coalition, and a former government relations staff for Pierce Transit. Learn more about Farrell from the campaign website). Farrell’s 46th District includes the UW neighborhoods and Greenwood, Northgate and Lake City.

Farrell brings a very green, pro-transit perspective to the Committee. She’ll certainly be a strong advocate for complete streets and bike-ped funding as well. Farrell is likely the most knowledge Committee freshman on those topics, and may be among the Committee’s experts on those issues.

Jacob Fey, Tacoma. Fey brings political (Deputy Mayor of Tacoma) and transit (volunteer efforts on the Sound Transit and Pierce Transit Boards) to his role on the Committee. He has also served as Vice Chairmanship of the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency, managed a WSU alternative energy and energy efficiency program, and worked with Pierce County Public Health Board. Fey’s 27th District includes portions of Tacoma and Fife in Pierce County.

Fey’s experience as Deputy Mayor and on the Pierce Transit Board will be invaluable in drafting a future transportation revenue bill.

Roger Freeman, Federal Way. Freeman is a Public Defender and Federal Way City Councilmember. He defeated Republican Committee member Katrina Asay. Learn more about Freeman from the campaign website. Freeman’s 30th District includes Federal Way, Milton, Algona and Pacific in King County.

Cyrus Habib, Kirkland. Habib replaces departing Transportation Committee member – and TID fave – Deb Eddy. He studied at Columbia, Oxford, and Yale Law School. He has been blind since he lost his sight to a rare form of cancer in childhood. He is also the first-ever Iranian-American to serve in state office and the highest-ranking Iranian-American in elected office. Learn more about Habib from his campaign website. Habib’s 48th District includes parts of Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, and all of Medina, Clyde Hill, Yarrow Point and Hunts Point. 

Habib spoke often on the campaign trail about advocating for the SR 520 project. He certainly is the Committee freshman with the most knowledge about the project, a top priority for the State, and this could help him when vetting other projects for inclusion in the next transportation bill.  

Marcus Riccelli, Spokane. Riccelli is a former Eastern Washington Director for U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, and a former Senior Policy Aide for former Senator Lisa Brown. Learn more about him from his campaign website. Riccelli’s 3rd District encompasses the heart of Spokane.

Riccelli learned about the impact of transportation on Eastern and Central Washington industries during his time with Senator Cantwell. He’ll be the freshman Committee member who best understands the transportation needs of rural communities and businesses. Riccelli brings political savvy and relationships built through his work for Senators Cantwell and Brown, and that should help him get off to a fast start. Riccelli is likely to be a proponent for ensuring that funding for the North Spokane Corridor is included when the next transportation revenue bill is drafted.

Gael Tarleton, Ballard. Tarleton recently resigned her position as a Seattle Port Commissioner. She’s a strategic advisor for the Institute for National Security Education and Research at the University of Washington, and is a technical advisor for Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Seattle. She previously worked on port security issues as a senior defense intelligence analyst for the Pentagon. Learn more about Tarleton from her campaign website.

Tarleton brings knowledge of the impact of freight and goods movement on the state’s and Puget Sound’s economy and jobs, and what is needed to sustain and grow that transportation segment. Farrell is likely the most knowledge Committee freshman on Port topics.

Also joining the committee is a veteran legislator, Mike Sells of Everett.

Sells may be new to the Committee in 2013, but as a returning Member he brings the experience and relationships from his previous sessions, and his work with transportation stakeholders like the Snohomish County Committee for Improved Transportation. Sells and Moscoso represent the commuter-heavy Snohomish County, and will likely be advocates for transit. They’ll be watching road and freight issues too, given that the County’s major employer is Boeing, along with labor issue.

 Here’s the Democratic lineup:

Committee Leadership

Judy Clibborn, Chair (41st District – Bellevue, Mercer Island, Newcastle, west Issaquah and northeast Renton in King County).

Jacob Fey, Vice Chair (27h portions of Tacoma and Fife in Pierce County).

Marko Liias, Vice Chair (21st – Lynnwood, Edmonds, Mukilteo, Snohomish County, including Edmonds, Mukilteo and portions of Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace).

Luis Moscoso, Vice Chair (1st – northeast King County and south Snohomish County, including areas of Bothell, Woodinville, Mountlake Terrace, and Brier).

Returning Committee members
Joe Fitzgibbon, 34th District – West Seattle, Burien and Vashon and Maury Islands

Jim Moeller, 49th – Vancouver, Hazel Dell, Walnut Grove. (Note: Moeller is also Speaker Pro Tempore, meaning he’ll preside nearly every session of the House.)

Jeff Morris, 40th – Mount Vernon and San Juan, eastern and northwestern Skagit and southwestern Whatcom counties

Cindy Ryu, 32nd – Shoreline, Edmonds, Woodway, Kenmore, Lake Forest Park and unincorporated areas of King and Snohomish Counties. (Note: Ryu is one of three Democrats vying to be appointed to the King County Council to fill a vacancy.)

Dean Takko, 19th  – Longview (Long Beach, Westport and Pacific, Wahkiakum, and parts of Grays Harbor and Cowlitz counties

Phil Upthegrove, 33rd – SeaTac, Des Moines, Normandy Park, large parts of Kent and Burien, and parts of Renton in King County

Returning Member New to Committee
Mike Sells, 38th – parts of Snohomish County including Everett, Marysville, and the part of the Snohomish Valley west of Highway 9

Newly-elected Committee members

Jacob Fey, Tacoma

Steve Bergquist, Renton

Jessyn Farrell, Seattle

Roger Freeman, Federal Way

Cyrus Habib, Bellevue

Marcus Riccelli, Spokane

Gael Tarleton, Ballard