Courtesy Photo, Chris Stearns

Courtesy Photo, Chris Stearns

Auburn Councilmember Chris Stearns announces run for 47th District House seat

Third candidate so far to replace Democrat Pat Sullivan.

Auburn City Councilmember Chris Stearns is running for the 47th Legislative District House seat held by Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, who will retire at the end of this year.

Stearns, who is running as a Democrat, is an attorney and the first Native American elected to the Auburn City Council. Stearns has a history of working to advance the health and rights of Native Americans and is endorsed by Sullivan.

“Every day I work for my own constituents and throughout the region to protect our quality of life, provide opportunity and hope for marginalized and vulnerable people, and build stronger communities for all of us,” Stearns said.

Stearns holds several leadership positions on the Auburn City Council in which he works with other King County cities to address regional issues including affordable housing, drug dependency, racial equity and salmon recovery.

Prior to serving on the council, Stearns spent 30 years working as an attorney, government leader and public policy advocate for justice and human rights. He worked for Hobbs Straus Dean & Walker, a national law firm that specializes in representing Native American Tribes across the United States.

Stearns was also appointed by President Bill Clinton as the first Director of Indian Affairs for the U.S. Department of Energy.

The 47th District covers parts of Kent, Auburn and Covington. Stearns is the third candidate to announce their campaign for the seat; Kent resident Shukri Olow announced her candidacy March 28. Carmen Goers, of Auburn, announced in January she is running for the seat as a Republican.

“Chris is exactly the kind of leader we need to meet the challenges facing South County families, and help build a better, more equitable future,” Sullivan said. “Chris understands the priorities of our region and is a strong partner on issues ranging from affordable housing to public safety. We need his voice in the legislature, working for all of us.”

Stearns is a longtime resident of Auburn. He and his wife Pamela have two adult daughters who both graduated from Auburn High School.

“The priorities we face in communities across South King County – housing affordability, behavioral health, supporting small business – require urgent investment and attention from our state government,” Stearns said. “We need leaders who understand the challenges facing local families, with real experience making a positive difference. I am thrilled for the opportunity to continue my record of public service in the legislature.”

Stearns said he has been endorsed by State Rep. Debra Lekanoff, D-Bow; King County Executive Dow Constantine; King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove; King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski; former County Councilmember Julia Patterson; Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus; Auburn Councilmember & WA State Labor Council President Larry Brown; Auburn Councilmember James Jeyaraj; former Auburn Councilmember John Holman; Kent Councilmember Satwinder Kaur; Kent Councilmember Marli Larimer; Kent School Board members Leslie Hamada and Awale Farah; Covington Councilmember Jennifer Harjehausen; Renton Councilmember Kim-Khan Van; Renton Councilmember Ed Prince; Shoreline Councilmember Chris Roberts; Bellevue Councilmember Janice Zahn; Esther Lucero, Seattle Indian Health Board; Tom Warren, Seattle Indian Health Board; Estela Ortega, El Centro de la Raza.

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