State Sen. Hobbs to replace Wyman as Secretary of State

<p><p>OLYMPIA — State Sen. Steve Hobbs will be the new Washington Secretary of State. </p></p><p><p>Hobbs, a Democrat from Snohomish County, will take over for Kim Wyman Nov. 22 as she <a href=”https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2021/oct/26/wyman-to-resign-as-secretary-of-state-to-assume-el/” target=”_blank”>begins her job in the Biden administration as a senior election security lead.</a></p></p><p><p>When he replaces Wyman — currently the only Republican statewide elected official — Hobbs will be the first Democrat to hold the position in more than five decades. </p></p><p><p>“Steve has demonstrated through his career as a senator the ability to act independently to not be swayed by any party,” Gov. Jay Inslee said. “And I think his record should give confidence to people he will continue to exercise that type of character that I think will help maintain credibility of our elections.”</p></p><p><p>Inslee announced Hobbs’ appointment Thursday in a video from Glasgow, where he is currently attending <a href=”https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2021/nov/09/in-glasgow-state-local-governments-work-to-fight-c/” target=”_blank”>the United Nations climate conference</a>. </p></p><p><p>Wyman’s departure gave Inslee an opportunity to appoint whomever he wanted, regardless of party. In the event of a vacancy in a statewide office, the governor appoints a replacement until the next general election. Hobbs will have to run in the general election in 2022 to keep the job. The winner of the November 2022 election will hold the position until the end of Wyman’s term in 2024.</p></p><p><p>The secretary of state is Washington’s top elections official. Their role also includes archiving government records and providing information and access to the business community about corporations and charities.</p></p><p><p>Hobbs has served in the state Senate since 2007. He is also a lieutenant colonel in the Washington State National Guard and has served in the U.S. Army for more than 32 years.</p></p><p><p>He has recently completed defense information school through the U.S. Department of Defense, according to the governor’s office. His experience in the National Guard and in cybersecurity will help him stand up to the national security threats against elections systems happening across the country, Inslee said.</p></p><p><p>As an Asian-American, he will also be the first person of color to serve as the secretary of state.</p></p><p><p>When looking for Wyman’s replacement, Inslee said he was looking for someone who demonstrated the ability to act in a bipartisan way, who is able to work with others to help “defeat the national security threats” and someone who has been able to win the trust of citizens. </p></p><p><p>“That’s important to have a secretary of state in that regard to help maintain trust in our electoral system,” Inslee said.</p></p><p><p>In a statement, Wyman said pointed to Hobbs’ ability to work in a bipartisan way to solve complex issues, something she said is essential in the role as secretary of state.</p></p><p><p>“It is imperative the secretary of state –  the state’s chief elections official  –  serve as a neutral arbiter in order to inspire confidence across the political spectrum in our election processes and results,” she said in a statement. </p></p><p><p>Wyman’s resignation is effective beginning Nov. 22. When she announced her departure, state Republican party chair Caleb Heimlich said he hoped Inslee would follow in the voters’ footsteps and choose a Republican as Wyman’s replacement. If Inslee decided to play partisan politics, Heimlich said it would be “a real insult.”</p></p><p><p>The Republican party would choose a “capable and good candidate” to run for the seat in 2022, he added.</p></p><p><p>Hobbs’ replacement in the Senate will be determined by Snohomish County.</p></p><p><p><em>This story is developing.</em></p></p>