OLYMPIA — Democratic Washington state Sen. Guy Palumbo of Maltby is stepping down from the Legislature to take a position with Amazon.
The move returns Palumbo, first elected in 2016, to the company he worked for earlier in his career as a senior manager.
Now, Palumbo will serve as Amazon’s director of public policy for the state, according to company spokesman Aaron Toso.
In a statement, Palumbo said he was proud of lawmakers’ work this year on a 100% clean-power bill for utilities, an increase for higher-education funding and the creation a long-term care trust for the state.
“While the work isn’t finished, I feel like I am leaving our district and our state in better shape than when I took office,” Palumbo said in the prepared remarks.
Asked if he needed to register as a lobbyist for the job, Palumbo said in a Twitter message that he would have to, “at some point whenever I do enough to count for state lobbying.”
His resignation was effective Friday.
In a statement, Sen. Majority Leader Andy Billig of Spokane called the Snohomish County senator a “particularly strong advocate on issues related to higher education, transportation, climate and energy.”
Toso in an email wrote that Amazon looks “forward to welcoming Guy Palumbo back to Amazon to lead our local advocacy work to help keep Washington a great place to live, invest, innovate, and create quality jobs for people from all backgrounds.”
The news was first announced Friday morning by Democratic Sen. Reuven Carlyle of Seattle in a Facebook post.
“My treasured friend and Senate colleague Guy Palumbo has resigned to return to the private sector and be closer to home and family,” Carlyle wrote. “The personal, professional and financial challenges of serving our constituents in our part-time citizen legislature are increasingly difficult.”
Palumbo represents the 1st District, which includes parts of King and Snohomish counties, including parts of Kirkland, Bothell and Mountlake Terrace.
In October 2017, Palumbo along with Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, took the lead on a letter sent to Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s real-estate chief John Schoettler to try and mend the city’s relationship with Amazon after the company announced plans to open a second headquarters outside of Seattle.
He also penned an op-ed that same month saying that a statewide approach was needed to convince the commerce giant to channel its expected HQ2 growth to Washington instead of abroad.
Palumbo concluded that op-ed, “Whether we succeed or not, we will have done it together, and we will collectively send a message to Amazon that its success is ours, too.”
To fill the Senate vacancy, local party leaders will nominate three potential replacements. Those two county councils would then vote to approve an appointee.
That person would then serve for the 2020 legislative session, with the seat being up for election later that year, according to Billig’s statement.
Staff reporter Benjamin Romano contributed to this report.