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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Waldref ‘thrilled’ after Senate confirms her as first female U.S. Attorney for Eastern Washington

Vanessa Waldref will be the first female U.S. Attorney for Eastern Washington. She has focused on environmental law as an assistant us attorney.  (COLIN MULVANY/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)

WASHINGTON – After the Senate confirmed her to serve as the Justice Department’s top lawyer in Eastern Washington, Vanessa Waldref said Friday she was “humbled and honored,” and looked forward to returning to her home state.

The Spokane native will be the first woman to serve as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, marking a return to the office where she worked an assistant U.S. attorney from 2013 to 2020. Senators also confirmed Nick Brown as her counterpart west of the Cascades, the first Black U.S. attorney for the Western District of Washington.

“I’m thrilled to be back, focused on the Eastern District in particular,” Waldref said. “I’ve loved doing national work for the Department of Justice, but Spokane is home and I’m very dedicated to this community.”

Washington Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, who recommended Waldref and Brown to President Joe Biden earlier this year, congratulated the two new top prosecutors in statements Friday.

“I’m thrilled to see the Senate confirm these two historic and highly qualified candidates for Washington’s Western and Eastern District Attorneys,” Murray said. “Both of them have already demonstrated an outstanding commitment to public service, and they will continue to play critical roles on a range of different legal issues, from racial justice to climate change, and more.”

U.S. attorneys are responsible for federal criminal prosecutions in 93 separate districts across the United States and its territories.

“I congratulate Vanessa Waldref and Nick Brown on their historic confirmations,” Cantwell said. “They are both highly-qualified individuals, dedicated to enforcing the rule of law and civil rights, who will represent the diversity of our state in the federal courts.”

Since the two Democratic senators recommended her nomination, Waldref has continued to work in the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resource Division, where she has handled nationwide litigation related to pollution control laws and other environmental issues. Biden officially nominated her in July, and the Senate confirmed her by voice vote late Thursday night.