Local legislators react to Ybarra appointment

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EPHRATA — Following the appointment of Quincy resident Alex Ybarra to the 13th Legislative District, Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, and Rep. Tom Dent, R-Moses Lake, applauded the addition of their new colleague.

“We have a full team now,” Warnick said. “I think the commissioners made a great choice.”

Ybarra was appointed by eight out of 12 county commissioners, who had gathered from Kittitas, Lincoln, Grant and Yakima counties in the Grant County Commissioners boardroom Monday.

Ybarra plans to head quickly to the legislature, which had its first day of session Monday, and has already arranged for housing in Olympia. Though he will be given less time to prepare than a legislator elected last November, Warnick said Ybarra’s colleagues in the 13th District will help him hit the ground running.

“We have a tradition of meeting at least once a week, the three legislators from the district,” Warnick said. “We make a point of seeing how each other are doing and bringing each other up to speed, and I’m sure we’re going to be doing that with Alex.”

Dent is similarly excited to welcome Ybarra to the House of Representatives.

“Alex is a good guy,” said Dent. “He’s a very common-sense, solution-driven individual, so I’m just tickled that the commissioners did what they did.”

Ybarra has been to Olympia previously in his role as Quincy School Board Director to discuss education issues, and Dent said this has given him a chance to get to know Ybarra both professionally and personally.

“I know him relatively well and I know he will an asset to the state legislature,” said Dent.

Grant County Commissioner Cindy Carter said that despite the strength of each of the three candidates, it was clear who her constituents supported.

“Alex is in my district, and 100 percent of the people from my district supported Alex,” Carter said. “Everyone that knows about him says he’s amazing, he’s awesome, and that he’s very involved in the community that he’s lived in.”

Dent, Warnick and Carter all applauded Ian Elliot and Danny Stone for their candidacy, saying that they could have worked with any of the candidates and that they each came to the table with their own strengths.

Though he will have to be formally sworn in at the Capitol, Ybarra was informally sworn in Monday at the Grant County Courthouse.

“I’m deeply humbled,” Ybarra said after his swearing in ceremony. “Everyone has been giving me their input and advice, and I really appreciate that. It’s my turn to do the work now.”

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