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Jarrett enters King County Executive race

State Senator Fred Jarrett, D-Mercer Island, is joining the race for King County Executive.

According to candidate registration information, Jarrett officially joined the race today as a nonpartisan contender. Current King County Executive Ron Sims has been nominated to serve as the deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C.

Jarrett said he is running for the position because he feels that the county is facing several big challenges.

"It's time to bring in someone from the outside," he said. "I think it's useful to have someone who has experience in both the private and public sectors." He added that the county has never had an executive who was from outside the city of Seattle, which makes up just a third of the county population.

"It's time for a representative from the other two-thirds," he said.

Jarrett said the legislature will remain his priority while it is in session. He was formerly a member of the House of Representatives and was elected to the Senate in 2008 as a Democrat. He has served on the Mercer Island City Council and on the Board of Directors for the Mercer Island School District.

In an e-mail to a friend and supporter, Jarrett said that people around him had encouraged him to join the race. He said King County is up against many challenges and needs to change how business is done, and whoever fills the position needs to be someone who can unify people across the county.

"We need new answers. Our problems will only be solved when we confront them directly, make the tough decisions to solve them and measure each decision against how it impacts the lives of individuals and families from Woodinville to Federal Way, from Vashon to North Bend," Jarrett said in the e-mail.

Two others have already announced their intentions to run for the position. Larry Phillips and Dow Constantine, current King County Council members, have said that they plan to campaign for the seat.

Jarrett said until the legislative session is over, the campaign will be taking a back seat, at which point he said it will hit the ground running. The session is slated to be finished on April 19. The race will be decided during the November general election.

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