Newly appointed District 26 State. Rep. Jesse Young (R-Gig Harbor) made his appearance in the state House Monday in Olympia.
Last Friday, county officials from Kitsap and Pierce confirmed Young to fill the the vacant 26th District House seat. The joint 10-member — three from Kitsap and seven from Pierce — unanimously approved the district Republican precinct officers’ top choice on Jan. 18 to fill the position left by Republican Jan Angel, who defeated Sen. Nathan Schlicher for the district Senate seat in November.
Young, 37, a Gig Harbor business consultant, was sworn in Friday and took his seat in the Legislature on Monday. He was selected as the top choice during a Dec. 4 meeting in Port Orchard.
“I’m happy to be out of limbo land and ready to get to work,” Young said after he was officially selected by the joint-delegation. “I can’t say I was surprised (by the vote), but I didn’t know. I met with most of them and we had really good discussions. Certainly the results were outstanding. It was very humbling.”
The married father of five will fill out Angel’s unexpired term, then run for office again in November.
Young received his appointments to the following House committees: Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs, Early Learning and Human Services, Government Operations and Elections (assistant ranking member) and Transportation.
Young and candidate Doug Cloud, the PCO’s third choice, gave a 5-minute speech and answered questions from the panel — comprised of the Kitsap County commissioners and Pierce County Council — at the Gig Harbor Civic Center. The panel was chaired by Pierce Councilman Dan Roach.
The group’s second choice, Adam Berman, was not at the meeting because he was out of town working on a movie project, said Matthew Finn, who also read a statement from Berman.
Young, who ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 2010 and 2012, told the panel he has a history of achieving and experience need in Olympia. He was homeless most of his early life, graduated as valedictorian at a Tacoma high school and earned a degree from Notre Dame.
He said that transportation, education and mental health are major issues facing the Legislature.
“I believe I have the experience needed to represent this district well in Olympia,” Young said. “I have an unique skill set that has taken me to Europe and Asia to work in the financial industry from an information technology perspective and a consultant in health care.”
Young said during the past several weeks he met with many members of the Kitsap and Pierce counties, along with several neighboring state representatives.
“I was wanting to meet because I don’t think I know it all,” Young said. “I’ll look to you for council because I want to be effective when I go in there. Address the job you want and not the one you have, then act accordingly.”
Young said he would like to serve on committees dealing with information technology, economic development, transportation and health care.
“I believe this is a full-time job in a part-time package,” Young said.
Thirteen people — eight who favored Young — spoke during public comment.
Marilyn Jensen, a longtime Republican PCO, said Young has lived the “American dream.”
“Coming from being homeless in the Hilltop neighborhood to earning a degree from Notre Dame took making great choices in his life,” Jensen said.
Richard Meyers said Young is a “problem solver who knows how to work with people.”
John Anderson, who did not voice support for any of the candidates, said both men were “differently qualified.”
Members of the panel agreed all three candidates were qualified for the seat.
Pierce County Councilman Stan Flemming said it was a difficult choice because he knows all three candidates.
“They are exceptionally well-qualified,” Flemming said. “It’s tough when you have qualified candidates who want to serve their community, district and state.”
“There were three qualified candidates who prepared well for today’s forum,” Commissioner Charlotte Garrido said. “We heard lots of testimony on behalf of them, and most were in favor of Jesse Young. I look forward to working with him as a representative.”
Commissioner Linda Streissguth, who was appointed to the board as a third-choice candidate, thanked each candidate for coming forward for the position.
“That takes courage, especially the appointment process that takes a different type of courage,” Streissguth said. “It’s a very different process.”
Commissioner Robert Gelder, who had gone through a similar process, also agreed there were three very qualified candidates.
“I would encourage everyone — not elected today — to remain involved in local government,” he said. “Get involved, stay involved.”
Councilman Rich Talbert said he was impressed with Young’s “great breadth of knowledge on the issues in our state.”
Roach, who echoed his colleagues remarks, said there were three great candidates and one tough decision.
Jesse Young File
Young grew up in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood and his family was impoverished or homeless. In 1995, he graduated valedictorian from Wilson High School while working part time. Young was named as a Washington State Scholar and was accepted to Notre Dame. While in college, he washed dishes to help pay for part of his college education. Young graduated from Notre Dame in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in management information systems. After college, he traveled in the U.S. and abroad as a consultant for major corporations with the aerospace, health care, energy, insurance and real estate industries. In 2007, Young accepted the position of senior business technology consultant with Russell Investments in Tacoma. He currently provides technology consulting services for the health care industry in California. Young, and his wife, Jennifer, have five children, including one that is adopted. He is involved in his church and community.