Former Lawmakers Joe Fain, Paul Graves Tapped by Legislative GOP Leaders as Members of Redistricting Commission

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Senate Minority Leader John Braun, R-Centralia, on Friday announced the appointment of former state Sen. Joe Fain to be a voting member on the 2021 Washington State Redistricting Commission.

A former lawmaker from Auburn who served eight years in the Washington state Legislature before being ousted by a Democratic challenger, Fain currently serves as the president and CEO of the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce.

Fain will be among four other non-elected members who will lead the redistricting effort this year to redraw the state’s legislative and congressional boundaries to proportion.

“Joe Fain has an accomplished record of public service and will, I believe, again serve with distinction in the best interests of all of the people of the state,” Braun wrote in a Friday letter to Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “I hope you will join me in wishing Joe Fain and all the members of the 2021 Washington State Redistricting Commission success.”

House Republicans, as well as House and Senate Democrats, will each nominate an individual to the commission, according to the state Constitution. A fifth non-voting member of the commission, the chairperson, will be elected by the four members by Jan. 31, and the commission will have until Nov. 15 to draw up new maps.

Former Rep. Paul Graves, who represented the 5th Legislative District in eastern King County for two years, was also expected to be tapped by House Republicans for a seat on the redistricting commission.

“He’s a former legislator and a really good friend of mine,” House Minority Leader J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, said Friday afternoon by phone. “I think it’s important to have someone in a younger generation do this. He’s also represented a Puget Sound swing district and he knows as much as everyone about how to attract younger voters.”

Wilcox also drew contrasts to the Republican appointees in the 2011 redistricting effort — Slade Gorton and Tom Huff — both of whom were many years older than Fain or Graves when they were tapped.

Fain lost reelection to his Senate seat representing the 47th Legislative District by a single percentage point in 2018 after a sexual assault allegation was made against the former lawmaker by a former foreign-service officer living in Seattle. The alleged incident reportedly happened in 2007, outside Washington state. According to previous Seattle Times articles, Fain denied the allegation. An investigation into the allegation was dropped shortly after Fain lost reelection.

Graves, a moderate Republican, was ousted after a single term by Democrat Lisa Callan. According to his LinkedIn account, Graves is currently the president of Enterprise Washington, a pro-business lobbying nonprofit, and serves as general counsel to Oak Harbor Freight Lines.

It’s required under state and federal law that states have their legislative and congressional districts redrawn every 10 years in accordance with new population metrics outlined by the decennial United States Census.

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