letter from the director: my senator, our champion

Washington lost a true champion of arts and heritage last Friday. Senator Scott White, one of the prime forces behind the passage of SB 5834 in the 2011 legislative session, passed away last Friday at the age of 41.  Senator White leaves behind two young children and his wife, Alison.

I first met Scott years ago when he was a policy analyst for the King County Council. He later became the Council’s chief of staff. In 2002, Scott helped shepherd the county legislation that transitioned the King County Office of Cultural Resources into the Cultural Development Authority of King County, now doing business as 4Culture.  He took great pride in the role he played in that achievement.

In 2008, he ran for and won a seat in the State House of Representatives from the 46th legislative District, which happens to be my district.  Two years later, he ran for and won a seat in the state Senate, following the retirement of Sen. Ken Jacobson. Despite his freshman status, Scott was elected the Senate Majority Whip by the Senate Democratic caucus. He worked closely with King County leadership on a remarkable economic development bill in 2011 that came up one vote short of passage, but certainly not by lack of effort by Senator White. When it became clear in the closing hours of the 2011 session that the large economic development bill would not get that single necessary vote it needed in the Senate, Senator Scott White, Senator Ed Murray, and others, sponsored SB 5834 with the single objective of saving arts and heritage funding in King County. Scott introduced the critical amendment to Senator Murray’s bill that assured the bill’s passage in the House.

I am proud to have been able to call Scott my Senator. He will be greatly missed. On behalf of 4Culture, our sincere condolences to his wife and family.

Jim Kelly

© 2011, Senator Scott White, Washington State Senate Democrats