State Sen. Sharon Nelson was selected Wednesday afternoon to replace Seattle Mayor-elect Ed Murray as the leader of the minority Senate Democratic Caucus.
“I am honored to have been elected as leader by the Senate Democrats,” Nelson said in a news release. “We have a diverse caucus, but I believe I was elected by my colleagues because my foremost goal is to do what I was sent here by my constituents to do – work for them. I demonstrated my inclusive leadership style during the budget negotiations last year, and I intend to make that a focal point of my tenure as leader.”
Nelson lives on Maury Island, and represents a district that includes West Seattle, North Highline, Burien and Vashon Island.
A 62-year-old former bank executive, consumer-protection activist and chief of staff to then-King County Councilmember Dow Constantine, she was appointed to the state House in 2007. She was elected to the Senate in 2010, and this year served as the assistant ranking member on the Senate Ways and Means Committee and was the party’s go-to senator for this year’s capital budget.
Murray resigned as Democratic leader shortly after defeating incumbent Mike McGinn. Murray announced this week he will step down from the Senate on Dec. 31.
Nelson and Sen. Karen Keiser, of Kent, the ranking member on the health-care committee, were seen as the top candidates to replace Murray.
Democrats control 26 of 49 seats in the Senate, but two of them have joined with Republicans to form a majority caucus. Following the results of a special election this month, one seat will flip in January from Democrat to Republican.