Margarita Prentice to retire from Senate after fifth term ends
By DEAN RADFORD
Renton Reporter Editor
January 5, 2012 · Updated 11:46 AM
The political career of Margarita Prentice – including 20 years as a state senator, will come to an end early next January.
Prentice no longer lives in the 11th Legislative District, now that statewide redistricting has moved her home on Langston Road on West Hill into the neighboring 37th Legislative District.
It was a move of just a block or so, but it took her out of what she herself called the "Prentice bulge" into the 11th District. She has lived in Skyway since 1958 and her daughter and son are nearby.
Already, Prentice had expressed doubts about running again for a sixth term, a reticence she also felt a bit four years ago. But she did run; this time, the decision was taken out of her hands.
"I will not be active in politics anymore," she said Wednesday. Still, she said she could get elected anywhere.
Prentice had spoken with Tim Ceis, the Democratic member of the state redistricting commission, about her doubts, but she said she didn't expect to lose her district. But, she says she's not disturbed.
Prentice will remain in office as the 11th District senator until Dec. 31, when her fifth term in the Senate ends. She turns 81 in February.
"I have served long and well," said Prentice. In her last election, she won in every precinct in the district. "I guess that my constituents agree that I did a good job," she said.
Her decision ends the possibility she would run against the 37th district's current senator, Adam Kline, who was elected overwhelmingly to his third term in office. He's up for re-election in fall 2014.
The Legislature has 30 days to review the new districts as drawn by the Washington state Redistricting Commission, but it can only make technical changes and those require a two-thirds yes vote by the House and Senate.
Prentice has been one of Renton's strongest voices in the state Legislature for more than two decades. She served on the Renton School Board and was a registered nurse at Valley Medical Center.
The Emergency Services Tower at Valley Medical Center is named after her.
Prentice was appointed to the state House of Representatives in 1988 to replace Gene Lux, who was appointed to replace Sen. Avery Garrett, who died that year. She was elected twice to the House and in 1992 won her first of five Senate races.
Mayor Denis Law said the city doesn't believe that the legislative changes will affect issues important to the city. "We've had great working relationships with both senators and are extremely grateful for their service to the community," he said. "Sen. Prentice has been the "Dean" of the Renton state legislative delegation for many years, and she has worked tirelessly to support the city through its dramatic growth and aggressive economic development efforts."
The state's redistricting commission last weekend completed redrawing the boundaries of the state's 49 legislative districts, based on the population figures in the 2010 Census.
The commission also redrew the boundaries of the state's nine congressional districts and carved out a 10th one, centered around Olympia.
Renton is in the 9th District, which by design is the state's one congressional district that has a majority of minorities, 50.32 percent. The new 9th District is represented by Adam Smith and stretches from Federal Way through Bellevue.
"The historic development of a "majority minority" district will allow the 9th District representative to focus on the needs and opportunities of our diverse communities, as well as the pressing needs of the entire district for economic opportunity, transportation improvements, and other infrastructure and community needs," Law said.
In the past Renton has also been part of the 8th Congressional District. Under redistricting, U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert's 8th District includes not only parts of King and Pierce counties, but also Chelan and Kittitas counties.
The boundaries of the nine King County Council districts also were redrawn, based on the new population figures. The redistricting pushes Julia Patterson's District 5 farther east to include more of Renton, including Cascade.
“I’m looking forward to representing more of the residents of the City of Renton and serving them on the County Council,” said Patterson of Seatac.County Council District 5 now includes the cities of Normandy Park and Des Moines and parts of Burien, SeaTac, Tukwila, Renton, and Kent.
"Renton has a strong relationship with all King County Council members," Law said. "We believe that our interaction with council member Patterson will be further strengthened with more of Renton in her district."
Legislature opens session on Monday
The Washington state Legislature opens its session on Monday in Olympia, faced with the prospect of making hundreds of millions of dollars in budget cuts.
Information about the Legislature, including the legislators who represent Renton, is available online at http://www.leg.wa.gov/. The Legislative Hotline is 1-800-562-6000.
Under the newly redistricted Legislature, Renton is predominately part of the 11th, 37th and 41st legislative districts.
The new congressional districts
The new legislative districts
Contact Renton Reporter Editor Dean Radford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-425-255-3484 (ext 5050).