Wenatchee Republican spent 20 years in Legislature

Photo courtesy of Linda Evans Parlette Sen. Linda Evans Parlette

Photo courtesy of Linda Evans Parlette

Sen. Linda Evans Parlette

State Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee, announced this week that she will resign her seat in the Senate after her fourth term ends in early 2017.

“My mom will be 90 in June. The legislative schedule does not allow me to spend as much time as I want with her or my husband Bob and the rest of our family,” Parlette said in a press release. “It’s that simple. And 20 years [in the Legislature] is a nice round number.”

Parlette said in the press release that while she was aware of speculation about her re-election plans, she did not want an announcement made during the 2016 session to influence the progress of the important legislation she had introduced.

“Although my decision about not running for a fifth Senate term was made during the winter holidays, I wanted to wait until after this year’s session to share it publicly,” Parlette said.

Parlette was elected to the House of Representatives in 1996 and served a pair of two-year terms. She won election to the Senate in 2000, succeeding the retiring George Sellar, and district voters sent her back to Olympia for three more terms. In addition to being the first woman to serve as 12th District senator, Parlette is second only to Sellar in years of service as the district’s state senator, according to the release.

Parlette said in her statement that her decision to step away was made easier by the fact that the Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC) she chairs has firmly established itself as the leader of the Senate.

“The formation of a bipartisan governing Majority Coalition Caucus in the Senate was a historic achievement and I’m proud to have served our caucus in a leadership role,” Parlette said. “There’s no debating that our coalition has reset the Legislature’s priorities for the better.”

A fourth-generation resident of north central Washington, Parlette grew up in Chelan. After working as a waitress to put herself through Washington State University’s pharmacy program, she began a career as a registered pharmacist and later took on a second occupation, as an orchardist. Her public-service career began locally, as chair of the Lake Chelan School District board and a member of the North Central Educational Service District board, according to the release.

During her tenure in the Legislature, Parlette saw 63 of the bills she introduced become law. Parlette said she is especially proud of her work to restore Beebe Springs, adjacent to the Chelan Fish Hatchery, and — when federal support was lacking to replace the Grand Coulee Dam School District’s worn-out schools — working in Olympia and with community leaders to secure funding for the new Lake Roosevelt K-12 school.

Also this week, Jon Wyss of Brewster announced he would seek to fill the 12th District Senate seat that Parlette is vacating. Wyss works for Gebbers Farms as an analyst and government affairs director. He previously was chief deputy assessor for Spokane County, and worked for 11 years within various U.S. Trustee Offices.

He currently serves as vice-president of the USA Farmers Association, serves on the U.S. Apple Board of Directors and the American Farm Bureau Labor Committee, is an adviser to the Brewster Boys and Girls Club, and is chairman of the Carlton Complex and Okanogan Complex Long Term Recovery Groups.

Wyss married his wife, Melanie, in 2003. He has two daughters and one son. He attended Texas Tech University and Lubbock Christian University in Lubbock, Texas.