State Sen. Pam Roach, whose time in the Legislature has included periodic conflicts with colleagues and staff, is planning to run for a seat on the Pierce County Council in 2016. She might still want to keep her Senate job, too.
State Sen. Pam Roach, whose time in the Legislature has included periodic conflicts with colleagues and staff, plans to run for a seat on the Pierce County Council in 2016.
The announcement comes almost four months after Roach, 67, took steps to establish herself as a Pierce County resident. On May 7, the veteran senator changed the address on her voter registration from her 7-acre farm in South King County to a house she owns in Sumner.
The county charter requires council members to be residents and registered voters of their districts for at least one year before filing for their position. Candidate filing for the 2016 election begins May 16.
Roach is the first to announce for the seat being vacated next year by County Councilwoman Joyce McDonald, a Republican who can’t run due to term limits.
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As recently as August, Roach was sending news releases listing her hometown as Auburn, which is roughly where her farm is in unincorporated King County. Roach’s husband, Jim, remains registered to vote at the farm.
In an interview Monday, Roach said she began living at the Sumner house she has owned for 13 years during her Senate re-election campaign last fall, “and never really left it.” She said she lives there, and her husband lives with her — but she noted she doesn’t stay at the Sumner house every night.
The County Council job comes with an annual salary of $107,602. Roach makes $45,474 per year serving in the Senate, not including expense payments and travel reimbursements.
Roach didn’t rule out holding both posts at once. Unlike in some states, Washington law doesn’t preclude politicians from holding two elected offices simultaneously. Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, is a Mason County commissioner.
“I have guarded the 31st District Senate seat for 25 years, and I will continue to do that,” Roach said, adding: “I want to be careful with whoever will replace me.”
Roach represents the 31st Legislative District, which includes Auburn, Edgewood, Sumner, Lake Tapps, Bonney Lake, Enumclaw, Buckley, South Prairie, Wilkeson and Carbonado. Both her farm in King County and her home in Sumner are within the 31st district, which crosses county lines.
During her 25-year Senate career, Roach has been known for confrontations with staff that led Republicans to kick her out of their private meetings from 2010 to 2012. In 2008, she was barred from contact with Senate staff for several years, but has regained all caucus privileges and access to staff.
Roach’s run for Pierce County Council means she could end up there with her son Dan Roach, a Republican and current chairman of the seven-member council. His term runs through 2018.