Politics blog

Democratic state Sen. Kline says he’s retiring at end of year

OlympianJanuary 2, 2014 

Adam Kline


Longtime Democratic state Sen. Adam Kline of Seattle said Thursday he plans to retire rather than seek re-election this fall in the 37th Legislative District. The outspoken liberal and advocate of civil rights protections is in his 18th year. He announced his decision in a newsletter mailed to his Southeast Seattle constituents.

Kline and other Senate Democrats have been in the minority since Republicans and two Democrats joined forces last January to take control of the Senate. Democrats control the state House by a 55-43 margin going into the 2014 elections. The next legislative session runs 60 days and starts Jan. 13.

Kline’s office put out a news release that said:

Sen. Adam Kline decides not to seek re-election in 2014

State Senator Adam Kline announced in his constituent newsletter today his decision not to run for re-election in November 2014, after completing his 18th session representing the 37th District in Southeast Seattle.  

“I’ll miss the action here, the engagement on issues important to the extraordinary people of Southeast Seattle,” he said.  But approaching his 70th birthday, he said, it’s time to quit and spend time with his family and to travel.

Kline, formerly a lawyer working in Pioneer Square, and as a cooperating lawyer with the ACLU, is best known for his work in the field of civil liberties, notably in the aftermath of September 11, when he successfully opposed a bill that would have broadened the wiretap authority of police and criminalized activity that some felt included lawful political advocacy. Later that same year, the ACLU awarded Kline its Civil Libertarian Award for “courage and determination in withstanding intense pressure in order to uphold freedom in the wake of September 11.”

More recently, he has worked to bring drug and alcohol treatment into state criminal sentences, and to shorten prison time for nonviolent offenders.  During the past two sessions he has cooperated with prosecutors and defense lawyers to strengthen our DUI laws, a subject that first brought him to Olympia as a local leader of MADD in the 1990’s.

“I’m going to miss this work,” he said.  “It has to do with human liberty, with the limits we place on the government’s ability to take it away.   There are times when I’ve been really jazzed to find consensus among disparate interests, finding the sweet spot where changes in the law make a real difference in the lives of people caught up in the criminal justice system.”  

Two Democrats hold down the two House seats in the 37th and, in a time-honored tradition of stepping up to the Senate, could be among those who seek Kline’s position. They are Rep. Eric Pettigrew of Renton and Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos.


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