Sen. Darlene Fairley is retiring from the state senate

Thursday, April 22, 2010


 Updated 04-24-2010

By Diane Hettrick

Sen. Darlene Fairley, 32nd District, has announced that she will not be seeking re-election to the state senate. She sent this letter to the members of the senate:
Around Christmas time last year I was griping and groaning about having to go back to Olympia soon. My husband (who had just about had it with my complaints) said I should wait until the end of this session to see if I felt the same.

If anything, my feelings are more negative than before. 
I’ve always believed that if you hate what you’re doing, and you can't give it your best, stop doing it. Life is too short to waste on things you don’t enjoy doing.

We never know what’s going to happen next, but I do know that I’m not running again. 16 years is enough.

To all of you—take care,

Darlene
She told me that she loved her job for many years but that she was no longer enjoying it and that it was soul-destroying to work at something you hated to do. She has been in the senate for 16 years. "And now it's someone else's turn," she said.

When I asked what she planned to do, she said, "I've been in social work and public service all my adult life," she told me, "I think I'd like to start a business now."

When she returned from Vietnam in 1970, she started Fairlook Antiques, which her husband Michael now runs — a successful business in Pioneer Square. She would like to start a new business, in addition to Fairlook.

Right now she is reveling in her new freedom.

Her term is officially up in January 2011 when her successor, who will be elected in November, is sworn in. Speculation has already begun about who will run for her office, with Rep. Maralyn Chase and Shoreline Mayor Keith McGlashan both being mentioned.

Fairley was a member of the Lake Forest Park City Council, when she won her first Senate election in 1994. She won easy re-election in 1998. 2002 and 2006.


During her time in Olympia, Fairley had been Chair of the Labor and Workforce Committee, twice Chair of Capital Budget, Chair of Financial Institutions, Housing and Consumer Protection Committee and Chair of Government Operations and Election, all powerful positions.


Fairley, a Democrat, won two of those re-election campaigns without the endorsement of the 32nd District Democratic organization. Relations seemed to have healed last week, when the District Party organization voted to support her for re-election.







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