Former Des Moines resident and current King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove announced Monday (April 11) that he will be running for Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands.
The current officeholder is Peter Goldmark (D), who has served in this position since 2009. Goldmark announced last week that he will not be seeking re-election.
In 2014, the commissioner received a salary of $121,618, according to the Council of State Governments.
Formerly a member of the state House of Representatives representing the 33rd legislative district, Upthegrove was elected to King County Council, representing District 5, in 2013 following the retirement of Julia Patterson.
“Voters expect the Commissioner of Public Lands to be an environmental champion,” Upthegrove said in a statement. “I am excited to be that champion and continue the work I’ve done to combat climate change, support responsible conservation and protect Puget Sound.”
Upthegrove started out as a grassroots organizer in the environmental movement. Born and raised in South King County, he began his public service career as a legislative assistant with Senator Kathleen Drew and then-Senator Julia Patterson. In 2001, Upthegrove was unanimously appointed by the King County Council to fill a vacancy in the state House of Representatives. He served five terms in the Legislature, where he championed transportation and environmental stewardship. In 2007, he sponsored legislation creating the Puget Sound Partnership, and is former chairman of the Select Committee on Puget Sound and the House Environment Committee. He was awarded the “Legislator of the Year” by the Washington Conservation Voters in 2011.
“I will oppose leasing of aquatic lands for coal export terminals. We need to respect tribal treaty rights and create jobs by investing in environmental cleanup and renewable energy, not by building massive coal export terminals,” added Upthegrove.
Upthegrove claims endorsements from former Governor Chris Gregoire, U.S. Representative Adam Smith, King County Executive Dow Constantine, Pierce County Executive Pat McCarthy, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission Executive Director Steve Robinson, and dozens of State Legislators and Mayors from around the state.
Upthegrove has also worked on a wide variety of issues to protect jobs and neighborhoods in South King County. He sponsored legislation to require industrial polluters pay to test and cleanup playgrounds contaminated with lead and arsenic, led Sound Transit light rail alignment negotiations, and directed investments for flood protection along the Green River.
Upthegrove received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Conservation with a minor in Biology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a Certificate in Energy Policy Planning from the University of Idaho.
A certified basketball official, Upthegrove also works as a basketball referee for youth and adult basketball leagues throughout the region.