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Rossi returns as 5th District senator, at county council’s request

Published on July 10, 2012

Sen. Rossi takes oath of office

A familiar face will represent the 5th Legislative District in the state Senate for the next several months: Dino Rossi, who held the post from 1997 to 2003. He was sworn in this afternoon in the Senate chamber by Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson.

Rossi, R-Sammamish, has already picked up a familiar committee assignment as well. He will be Republican leader on the Senate Ways and Means Committee, succeeding Sen. Joseph Zarelli, who ended his 17-year Senate career in May.

“State government’s financial outlook is more precarious now than when I left the Senate – and it would be even worse if Senate Republicans had not brought common sense and bipartisanship back to the budget process these past two years,” Rossi said. “With Senator Zarelli having left office, I’ll be glad to lend my budgeting experience should the need arise.”

During Rossi’s first six years as a state senator he successfully advocated public-safety policy improvements before becoming best-known for writing the bipartisan 2003 state operating budget that erased a huge deficit without a general tax increase.

Rossi said he was approached about a temporary return to the 5th District position after Cheryl Pflug said she would leave the Senate to accept a gubernatorial appointment July 1, less than six months before her four-year term was to expire.

He was appointed Monday by the King County Council. Rossi will serve until a new senator, who will be chosen by 5th District voters in the Nov. 6 general election, takes over to begin a full term.

“I didn’t go looking for this but it’s worked out well all around,” said Rossi. “This made the council’s task simpler, the legislative district gets someone with Senate experience and it’s an opportunity for me to serve my neighbors once more while I’m still in the district.”

When new legislative-district boundaries take effect after the general election Rossi’s home will not be in the 5th District but the 45th District instead. Either way, he will not seek election to succeed Pflug, who became 5th District senator in 2004 when Rossi stepped down to run for governor.

“This is purely about public service, because my life is plenty busy already,” said Rossi, a principal in an Everett-based commercial real estate investment firm, noting three of his four children are still teenagers and residing at home. “It was easier to take on this responsibility knowing there’s an end point coming later this year.”

He also was appointed to the Senate’s judiciary and health-care committees, as well as the rules committee, which selects legislation for Senate votes. Rossi said 5th District residents may reach him several ways:

Street address: 415 Legislative Building
Mailing address: P.O. Box 40405, Olympia, WA 98504-0405
Phone: 360-786-7608 or (toll-free) 1-800-562-6000
Fax: 360-786-1266

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Sen. Dino Rossi represents the 5th Legislative District, which includes North Bend, Maple Valley, Issaquah, Sammamish, Fall City, Snoqualmie, and parts of rural King County.

For more information contact Eric Campbell at (360) 786-7503 or