King County Council names Upthegrove new Chair as part of annual reorganization

Upthegrove has represented District 5, which includes parts of Kent and Renton, since 2014.

On Dec. 13, King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove was selected by his peers to become the new Chair of the Council as members approved their annual reorganization for leadership roles.

“My priority will be to support and strengthen our democratic institutions and demonstrate that democracy can work,” Upthegrove said. “Our guiding value will be respect. This means respect for one another, for our exceptional staff, and for the people we serve.”

Upthegrove, 51, has represented District 5, which includes parts of Kent and Renton, on the King County Council since 2014.

Now in his third term, he has previously served as Chair of the Transportation, Environment and Economy Committee, the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee, Regional Water Quality Committee, King County Flood Control District, and the Regional Transit Committee. He currently also serves as a member of the Sound Transit Board of Directors.

Prior to joining the King County Council, Upthegrove served 12 years in the Washington House of Representatives, representing the 33rd District from 2002 to 2013. While there he served as Chair of the Environment Committee, earning praise from the Washington Conservation Voters as a leader on environmental issues and a rising star in the House.

He is a resident of Des Moines, where he lives with his husband Chad.

Upthegrove takes over from Councilmember Claudia Balducci, who held the position for the past three years during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of the reorganization motion, Councilmembers Jeanne Kohl-Welles and Reagan Dunn were selected as Vice Chairs for Council. Other committee leadership assignments include:

– Committee of the Whole: Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Chair; Claudia Balducci, Vice Chair

– Budget and Fiscal Management: Joe McDermott, Chair; Rod Dembowski, Vice Chair

– Law, Justice, Health and Human Services: Girmay Zahilay, Chair; Sarah Perry, Vice Chair

– Transportation, Economy and Environment: Rod Dembowski, Chair; Pete von Reichbauer, Vice Chair

– Local Services and Land Use: Sarah Perry, Chair; Girmay Zahilay, Vice Chair

– Government Accountability and Oversight: Pete von Reichbauer, Chair; Joe McDermott, Vice Chair

– Employment and Administration: Dave Upthegrove, Chair; Jeanne Kohl-Welles, Vice Chair

– Regional Policy Committee: Pete von Reichbauer, Chair

– Regional Transportation Committee: Sarah Perry, Chair

– Regional Water Quality Committee: Claudia Balducci, Chair

New leadership positions are effective Jan. 1