King County Council member Jan Drago, moments before being sworn in:

[caption id="attachment_22115" align="alignnone" width="550" caption="L-R: Reagan Dunn, Bob Ferguson, Pete von Reichbauer, Jan Drago, Larry Phillips, Kathy Lambert"]L-R: Reagan Dunn, Bob Ferguson, Pete von Reichbauer, Jan Drago, Larry Phillips, Kathy Lambert[/caption]

Surrounded by three of the council's Republicans and three Democrats (Larry Gossett showed up shortly after the photo above was taken), Drago said, "It's been a difficult process and I'm grateful that you have faith in me to do the job. ... I do like challenge, and I know that this year will be exceptionally challenging for the King County Council, and I look forward to that."

Shortly before Drago was sworn in, Joe McDermott congratulated her and wished her a "good year."

Original Post:

The King County Council just voted to appoint Jan Drago to the empty Eighth District county council seat vacated by Dow Constantine last year, a motion proposed by Democrat Larry Phillips and supported by every Republican on the council. Although all the motions leading up to the vote were split 5-3 between the Republicans-plus-Phillips, the final vote was unanimous in keeping with council tradition.


Jan Drago joins KC Council/Photo by Erica C. Barnett

As I reported this morning, Phillips initially supported Joe McDermott for the appointment, but switched his support to Drago (who would serve as a placeholder until this November and would not run for reelection). Phillips joins the council's four Republicans in a five-member majority for Drago.

During this morning's recess, West Seattle supporters of McDermott asked Phillips to give them some time—a week or so—to raise district residents' awareness of the pending appointment. The 34th District Democrats voted last year to support McDermott.

Council member Julia Patterson: "I may be wrong, but I don't know that there's anyone in the room supporting any other candidates. ... This is in no way meant to disparage [Drago]—it has nothing, really, to do with her. ... I'm just terribly disappointed that if this passes it means we've lost our hope for Joe McDermott." Patterson points out that McDermott's Senate district is entirely inside the Eighth District; Drago lives in Pioneer Square.

Council member Larry Gossett: "Just since the motion for reconsideration was made, I got three more emails supporting Mr. McDermott." Gossett says McDermott impressed him with his familiarity with the district. "This cat will hit the ground running."

Phillips: The impasse is "unfortunate, but here we are."

Drago, incidentally, isn't here. I'm assuming she's at the inaugural festivities up the street, but Gossett made the point that the three other candidates for the position, including McDermott, state Rep. Zack Hudgins (D-11), and state Rep. Sharon Nelson (D-34) have been here since the council's first meeting this morning.

Phillips is defending Drago's record as a Democrat, noting that she served as a precinct committee officers  for the Democrats in three legislative districts, served as a Kerry delegate in 2004, and ran one of Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-36) campaigns.

Republican Reagan Dunn, to Phillips: "You're doing a noble thing here. ... You're breaking a deadlock. ... I think everybody will get what they want here, it'll just take a little time to ferment." Dunn says "we—the Republicans—are being very fair in this process. ... At the end of the day, democracy wins."
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