Is Brad Owen considering retirement?

Lt. Gov. Brad Owen speaks at a salmon tasting in Taiwan.
Lt. Gov. Brad Owen speaks at a salmon tasting in Taiwan.
KING-5 TV has some pretty strong evidence that Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, who represented the 24th and 35th Legislative Districts in the Legislature for 20 years, is considering retirement at the end of this term. Owen’s office is not giving any public clues, but the station got emails through public records requests that make the case retirement is a real possibility. And there’s the rationale for keeping that consideration mum:

(Owen aide Ken) “Camp recommends not announcing plans to retire as it could result in the office losing some of its funding: ‘Another consideration is that if we let them know you’re definitely retiring, the Governor and the Legislature may try to reduce the budget. I’m not a fan of telling OFM [Office of Financial Management] that you’re retiring at this point so that they don’t have a reason to cut our budget and because if we formally tell people you’re retiring they’ll just start writing you off and making you irrelevant.'”

Owen’s Lt. Gov. bio mentions that he’s been in office since getting elected in 1996. He lives in Shelton and represented the 24th Legislative District in the House from 1977 to 1983 and the 35th Legislative District in the Senate from 1983 to 1997. When he left the Senate after getting elected as lieutenant governor, he was replaced by party appointment by Lena Swanson, who then lost the next election to Tim Sheldon.

The job entails acting as governor while the governor is away, being president of the Senate and taking a large role in the state’s international trade missions.

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