Environmental activist Gerry Pollet was appointed to a vacant state House seat in North Seattle's 46th Legislative District.

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Environmental activist Gerry Pollet was appointed to a vacant state House seat in North Seattle’s 46th Legislative District.

In a unanimous vote by the Metropolitan King County Council on Monday, Pollet was chosen to replace former Rep. David Frockt, who moved up to the state Senate to replace Scott White, 41, who died in October from heart problems.

Pollet ran unsuccessfully against White in 2008. He was selected by 46th Legislative District Democratic precinct-committee officers as the top choice to fill the House seat vacated by Frockt.

Sylvester Cann, a former aide to White, and Javier Valdez, a longtime party activist, came in second and third, respectively, in the 46th District voting. Both Cann and Valdez urged council members to respect the district’s replacement process and appoint Pollet. All three are liberal Democrats.

Pollet, a lawyer, is executive director of Heart of America Northwest, a watchdog group for the cleanup of the Hanford nuclear reservation.

He said he’d be a champion for the environment, education funding and open government. He said he hopes to bring a collaborative style to Olympia, prompting Councilmember Kathy Lambert to ask for examples of Pollet’s working “across the aisle” with Republicans.

Pollet pointed to his work as an officer for the state Coalition for Open Government, whose president is former GOP state Rep. Toby Nixon.

The state Constitution spells out the process to fill a vacant state legislative seat. It calls for the party committee of the party that held the now-open seat to forward three names to the County Council, which then makes the final decision by a majority vote.

To retain the seat, Pollet will have to run for election next November to serve a full term in the House.

Bob Young: 206-464-2174 or byoung@seattletimes.com