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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

January 7, 2014 at 3:34 PM

State Sen. Paull Shin resigns, citing Alzheimer’s as factor

State Sen. Paull Shin, D-Edmonds, is stepping down from the Senate. He cited Alzheimer’s disease as a factor in a prepared statement.

Shin, who is 78, was elected to the Senate in 1998. When campaigning, he’d often tell his life story, of being an orphan living on the streets in Korea and being adopted at age 16 by an American soldier. He went on to earn a doctorate in history, ran a successful business and later became a trade adviser to Washington governors.

In his statement on Tuesday, Shin said, “I have loved this place and the work we do here on behalf of the people of Washington. Unfortunately, I have determined with the assistance of my family that recent health problems and a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease make it impossible for me to represent my constituents in the manner they deserve.”

The Democratic caucus has lost several members in recent months. Former Sen. Ed Murray is now the mayor of Seattle. Former Sen. Nick Harper, D-Everett, resigned in November, and now works for Murray. Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, recently announced he won’t seek re-election when his current term runs out.

Here’s Shin’snews release:

Sen. Shin announces immediate retirement
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Jan. 7, 2014
Sen. Paull Shin, D-Edmonds, today announced his retirement from the Washington State Senate, effective immediately, in the attached letter sent to the Governor, his legislative colleagues and his constituents.
“It is with the deepest regret that I resign from the Senate,” said Shin, who had served honorably in the Senate since his election in 1999. “I have loved this place and the work we do here on behalf of the people of Washington. Unfortunately, I have determined with the assistance of my family that recent health problems and a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease make it impossible for me to represent my constituents in the manner they deserve.”
Shin grew up as an orphan in South Korea during the Korean War and was adopted by an American soldier and brought to America. Shin received a GED and eventually a Ph.D. from the University of Washington and taught for 31 years in Washington’s higher education system. Sen. Shin was elected to the Washington State Senate in 1999. Prior to that, he served in the House of Representatives from 1993 to 1994. He is the Senate’s Vice President Pro Tempore, which presides over floor action in the absence of the Lieutenant Governor and President Pro Tempore.
During Shin’s legislative career, he has championed higher education, support for the developmentally disabled and other vulnerable members of our communities, and expanding trade with foreign countries.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your help and support over the years,” said Shin. “It has been a tremendous privilege to be a member of the State Senate and work with such wonderful colleagues. I am grateful for the camaraderie, the work we accomplished, and the valuable lessons learned. I would also like to thank my wife and children for their love, support, and shared belief in the importance of service. Most of all, I would like to express my thanks to the citizens of the 21st Legislative District, who placed their trust in my stewardship for all of these years; it has been my honor and privilege to serve them for the past 17 years. I look forward to assisting the Senate in making this transition as smooth as possible.”

Comments | More in Politics Northwest, State Legislature | Topics: Paull Shinn, Washington Senate

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