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Key Washington lawmaker: Mike Padden

SUNDAY, MARCH 19, 2017

Mike Padden

Hometown: Spokane Valley

Party: Republican

District: Legislative District 4, one of three districts contained within Spokane County boundaries; it includes the city of Spokane Valley, Liberty Lake, Millwood, Otis Orchards, parts of Mead and Green Bluff.

Background: Although he’s been in the Senate only about five years, Mike Padden is one of the longest-serving members of the Spokane County delegation because of 14 years in the House in the 1980s and ’90s. He was elected to the seat of his longtime political ally and friend, the late Bob McCaslin, in 2011, defeating the appointee selected by county commissioners earlier that year. As chairman of the Law and Justice Committee, he led last year’s investigation into problems with the Department of Corrections that prompted the first legislative subpoenas in decades. Among his ongoing issues are bills to limit abortion and increase the penalty for repeat drunken driving. He’s also an asterisk in presidential history as the only member of the Electoral College to vote for Ronald Reagan in 1976, an action that prompted the passage of the state’s “faithless elector” statute. Padden’s standard response is he wasn’t faithless, just four years ahead of the times.

Last election: Ran unopposed last year.

Age: 70

Terms: Serving his second term in the Senate. Served in the House 1981-95 before resigning to become district judge.

Committee assignments: Chairman, Law and Justice; member of Human Services, Mental Health and Housing, Ways and Means.

Education: Gonzaga University bachelor’s degree and law degree.

Work experience: Lawyer, district judge, regional appointee to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, American Legion Baseball commissioner.

Family: Married, five adult children.

Office phone: (360) 786-7606


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