MONTESANO — House legislators in the Coastal Caucus have endorsed Katie Svoboda for Grays Harbor Prosecutor, calling on members of the Board of County Commissioners to appoint her to the position as soon as possible.
State Reps. Dean Takko, Kevin Van De Wege, Steve Tharinger and Brian Blake sent a joint press release on Thursday solidly endorsing Svoboda as their candidate of choice.
Svoboda emerged as the top pick of the Grays Harbor Democrats’ precinct committee officers last week. Other candidates on the list include Grays Harbor Democratic Chairman George Smylie, an attorney for the state, and former Democratic chairwoman Vini Samuel, an attorney from Montesano. Smylie and Samuel both support Svoboda for the position and were nominated specifically to keep former Democratic prosecutor Michael Spencer off the list and make Svoboda the ultimate choice for the Republican-dominated county commissioners to choose.
The county commissioners must pick a name off the list, even if two of the names on the list don’t really want it.
If Svoboda gets the appointment, she’ll be the first female prosecutor in the county’s history.
“Katie’s born and raised on the Harbor and has dedicated herself to keeping our community safe,” Blake, D-Aberdeen, said in the press release. “I know she’ll help move the Harbor forward because she and her family have strong roots here. She’ll help make this a better place for families and a horrible place for criminals.”
Takko, D-Longview, also endorsed Svoboda.
“The biggest job county governments face — and the biggest part of county budgets — is criminal justice,” Takko said in the press release. “Katie’s a top-notch prosecutor who’s been putting away the worst of the worst for years. There’s nothing more important than keeping our families safe, and I’m happy to support her.”
Van De Wege, a firefighter and Democrat from Sequim, added “As a firefighter, I know how police, prosecutors and first responders have to work together and trust each other to keep our citizens safe. My district includes a good portion of Grays Harbor and I know Katie has built strong ties with law enforcement throughout the county.”
Tharinger , a former county commissioner and also a Democrat from Sequim, added, “A solid criminal justice system is one of the bedrocks of our democracy and the rule of law. To make it work, we need prosecutors and judges who uphold the highest notions of ethics and personal integrity.”
Svoboda has also received the endorsement of recently retired prosecutor Stew Menefee.
Coming into the selection process, Spencer was setting himself up as the establishment candidate with 48 attorneys endorsing him, as well as the mayors of Hoquiam, Aberdeen and Cosmopolis and as the majority of commissioners on the Port of Grays Harbor and the Grays Harbor PUD.
Spencer had letters of endorsement from former Democratic county commissioners Bill Vogler, Mike Murphy, Bob Paylor and Dennis Morrisette.
Menefee retired on Sept. 30. The commissioners named Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Gerald Fuller as acting prosecutor. Fuller didn’t seek the permanent position and was sworn into the position on Monday.