Nelson on the short list for Constantine's vacated council seat

An advisory committee appointed by the King County Council recommended Islander Sharon Nelson and three others as candidates to fill the county council seat left empty by the election of now-County Executive Dow Constantine.

In a news release issued Friday, the council announced that the advisory committee selected Nelson and Jan Drago, a member of the Seattle City Council, as candidates who could serve in the post as caretakers — meaning they would not run for election in November 2010, when Constantine's term expires.

Two others were selected who say they intend to run for the seat next fall — state Sen. Joe McDermott (D-West Seattle) and state Rep. Zack Hudgins (D-Tukwila).

All told, 11 people threw their hats into the ring, including Islander Jake Jacobovitch. After a nearly 10-hour day that included interviews with all 11 contenders, the advisory committee selected four people.

The position pays $127,476 a year.

Nelson, who represents the 34th District, which includes Vashon, in the state House, said she'd step down from her legislative seat were she selected to fill the post.

The 12-member advisory committee, chaired by Seattle Municipal Court Judge Anne Levinson, and Mark Okazaki, executive director of Neighborhood House, considered the candidates' knowledge of King County government, their knowledge of the needs and challenges of District 8, Constantine's district, and their leadership skills in making its selections.

Tom Dean, director of the Vashon-Maury Island Land Trust, served on the advisory committee.

"It was a very impressive slate of candidates. And it was a very impressive panel that was put together," he said. "We feel that we gave everyone a very good shot at it and deliberated very carefully."

The county council will interview the candidates Monday, Dec. 7, and is expected to chose the new councilmember at its Dec. 14th meeting.

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