Girmay Zahilay (District 2) is the newest member of the King County Council. Courtesy photo

Girmay Zahilay (District 2) is the newest member of the King County Council. Courtesy photo

New King County Council members sworn in

The King County Council was sworn in on Jan. 8, with three familiar faces and one new face.

Councilmembers Jeanne Kohl-Welles (District 4), Claudia Balducci (District 6) and Joe McDermott (District 8) were all re-elected in November’s general election. Newcomer Girmay Zahilay (District 2) beat out longtime county council member Larry Gossett and was sworn in with the returning members.

Throughout his campaign in multiple media interviews, Zahilay refrained from criticizing Gossett’s work and tenure on the council. He followed suit during a brief speech on Wednesday.

“He is somebody who I look up to and who I have a lot to learn from, and his work is not done,” Zahilay said. “I’m excited to partner with him.”

Balducci was chosen as the council chair, with fellow members Reagan Dunn and McDermott being selected as vice chairs. Previously, council member Rod Dembowski served as chair.

Committee leadership was also decided. McDermott will head the Committee of the Whole; Kohl-Welles will head Budget and Fiscal Management; Kathy Lambert will chair Community, Health and Housing Services as well as the Regional Water Quality committee; Pete von Reichbauer will head the Government Accountability and Oversight committee as well as the Regional Policy Committee; Zahilay will lead the Law and Justice committee; Dunn will lead Local Services; Dembowski will head the Mobility and Environment committee; and Dave Upthegrove will lead the Regional Transit Committee.

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