Lambert set to lead District 3

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SNOQUALMIE VALLEY - When Fall City, Snoqualmie and North Bend become part of Metropolitan King County Council District 3 next year due to a redistricting move last month, state legislator Kathy Lambert will be the area's new representative.

"I'm looking forward to working with my new communities," said Lambert, Redmond, who presently serves as Republican representative to the state from the 45th District.

Lambert has known she wanted to be in politics since she was 16. While going to high school in California, she was a secretary to the superintendent of her school district. When she attended public events with him, she was impressed by how the entire community went to him with their needs, even though he was just the superintendent.

"Whatever people wanted, he knew how to get," Lambert said. "I loved that."

She told her mentor what she wanted to do, and he offered two pieces of advice. The first was to live her life every day as though she was going to be on the front page of the paper. The advice rang true, not only as a charge to do her best each day, but as a way of not doing something that would come back to haunt her later.

"When you get into politics, people are always trying to find out something about you," Lambert said. "That's good advice when you're young."

Lambert went the way of her mentor and earned a teaching degree shortly after she moved to Washington with her husband 20 years ago. She taught in the Monroe School District for 16 years and kept getting more and more involved in local politics.

Although she wanted to go to law school before she ran for any office, the political leaders she had worked with encouraged her to run for the 45th District seat in 1994. She accepted the challenge and won the race.

"I was really surprised I won on my first try," Lambert said.

She said her time in Olympia has been a tremendous learning experience, and she is proud to have been a part of some important bills, including one that outlawed sex between teachers and students. She said she is known in the Capitol for her bipartisanship, and for her ability to get her bills passed.

"An important part of my job has not just been passing bills, but stopping bad bills as well," Lambert said.

After seven years in the Legislature, however, Lambert was ready for a change. When she heard that Louise Miller was giving up her seat in the district, Lambert saw an opportunity. Her popularity was evident, as she walked away with more 64 percent of the vote in the November election, defeating Democrat Kristy Sullivan, who serves on the Snoqualmie Valley School District Board of Directors.

Since she will go from being one of 147 legislators in Olympia to one of 13 council members in Seattle, Lambert feels the council position is right for her and that she can make more of a change for her district.

Spending, transportation and children's issues are on the top of her agenda. She said she would like to keep a close eye on spending, but is willing to part with dollars if it means better transportation or increased services for children.

"It's a really crucial time right now for the state," Lambert said.

Lambert said she is aware of the flooding and growth issues that concern the Valley. She said she is planning to work closely with Councilman David Irons, who currently represents North Bend, Snoqualmie, Fall City and Preston, as she begins in her transition from being a state legislator to a council member, now responsible for a much larger area.

"I'll be learning a lot about the communities in the coming months," Lambert said. "I know there will be some tough answers."

She plans to have public meetings in her new district near the beginning of next year. She said networking and getting different people to work together has always been among her her strengths, a skill she learned when the superintendent she worked for gave her the second valuable piece of advice on entering public service.

"He told me to love everybody," Lambert said.

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