Bailey Stober announced plans Monday to run for the state Legislature just one week after his forced resignation from a King County government job and three weeks after stepping down from his King County Democrats chair role.
Stober, of Auburn, plans to challenge incumbent state Rep. Mark Hargrove, R-Covington, for the District 47, Position No. 1 seat. Hargrove is seeking a fifth, two-year term. The district includes parts of Kent, Auburn and Covington. Stober ran unsuccessfully three times for the Kent City Council in 2015, 2013 and 2011.
“I am running for state representative because I am tired of our communities being an afterthought,” Stober said in a post on his new website, baileystober.com. “While money pours into Seattle and the Eastside, our neighbors are still struggling. The people of the 47th District deserve good paying jobs, affordable housing and high quality schools for their kids. They deserve these things without over the top government intrusion and regulation that is paired with ridiculously high taxes.
“I’ve built my career serving the public, first as a state employee in Olympia and then as the spokesperson for the county assessor. I haven’t worked in government for long, but I’ve been there long enough to know the system is broken, and it isn’t serving the families in Auburn, Covington or Kent. Too often those at the top reap the benefits from the hard-working people with the least. I’m not going to serve special interests – I am going to serve the families and individuals living in our district.
“I’m running as an Independent Democrat because while I agree with the ideals of the Democratic Party, I am not going to let the Seattle establishment call the shots for South King County. I believe we need an independent voice who is willing to put aside the rhetoric, buzz words and partisan political games in order to actually get things done for the people in our district.”
Stober already has received endorsements from Kent Mayor Dana Ralph and Auburn Mayor Nancy Backus.
“Bailey Stober will be an independent voice of reason for the people of the 47th district,” Ralph said in her endorsement on Stober’s website. “I’ve known Bailey for 10 years. I know who he is. I know what he brings to the table. I am fired up to be on his team. He is thoughtful, intelligent and driven and will deliver results for the people in our district. Bailey Stober will be an outstanding representative for the 47th district.”
Stober sat in the front row of Ralph’s State of the City address last week at City Hall. He also worked closely with Ralph in an effort to pass an utility tax increase ballot measure to hire more Kent Police officers. Voters rejected the measure 57 to 43 percent on April 24.
Backus also offered her support.
“Bailey listens to all voices,” Backus said. “I’ve never seen him treat anyone with anything other than respect. He cares deeply about our communities. I appointed Bailey to the Healthy Cities Task Force and the Parks Board because he steps up and delivers results. Bailey is a tireless worker and I expect an energetic campaign. I’m proud to support Bailey Stober for state representative.”
The two mayors gave the endorsements despite Stober’s resignation April 23 as the communications director for King County Assessor John Wilson, which was related to his stepping down as King County Democrats chair earlier in April.
An investigation by an attorney hired by the King County Department of Assessments to look into Stober’s actions as King County Democrats chair reached the following conclusions:
Stober “engaged in conduct that was outside the bounds of an appropriate employer-employee relationship, including his use of derogatory language about his employee (Natalia Koss Vallejo, former King County Democrats executive director); juvenile behavior directed toward Ms. Koss Vallejo; and frequency of after-work social events and the amount of alcohol consumed at these events.”
According to the report, “Mr. Stober called Ms. Koss Vallejo a bitch both verbally and in writing. A number of witnesses offered corroborating accounts regarding Mr. Stober’s use of this language at or about Ms. Koss Vallejo.”
Stober denied to investigators that he called Koss Vallejo a bitch except in a Dec. 27 text message, which he said was a slang expression not meant to be derogatory.
Stober will receive a settlement of $37,700, according to the separation agreement, in return for promising not to sue the county. Stober received an annual salary of $98,008. He began his county job in January 2016.
Stober also agreed to neither seek nor accept future employment with King County.
In addition to the forced resignations, Stober remains under investigation by the state Attorney General’s Office for alleged campaign violations in his 2015 Kent City Council race. In 2015, the state Public Disclosure Commission levied a $4,000 penalty against Stober over campaign disclosure and record-keeping violations related to two separate Kent City Council campaigns he ran in 2011 and 2013. Half of that penalty was suspended unless Stober committed further campaign finance violations within four years.