Mike Padden, a resident of the Spokane Valley since 1978, represents the 4th Legislative District in the state Senate. Sen. Padden is chairman of the Senate Law and Justice Committee; he also serves on the Senate Ways and Means Committee, which addresses spending on state-government operations and capital projects, and the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee.
Sen. Padden was elected to the state House in 1980 and served as a citizen legislator for more than 14 years. During that time his many leadership roles included House Majority Floor Leader and chairman of the Law and Justice Committee.
In March 1995 he was appointed Spokane County District Court judge and won three additional terms through countywide elections. His willingness to listen and work with both sides served him well; his fellow judges twice elected him to be the court’s presiding judge, managing a budget of approximately $7.8 million and a staff of 150 employees. He retired from that position in January 2007.
In 2008, he was appointed to serve on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as the Judicial Outreach Liaison overseeing therapeutic traffic safety issues in five states — Washington, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Alaska.
Sen. Padden has earned the reputation of standing strong on principle – no higher taxes, smaller government, and defender of life. He is equally well-known for having a strong willingness to engage in the legislative process and has proven successful in forging coalitions to pass legislation, even when in the minority.
Sen. Padden is a graduate of Spokane’s Gonzaga University and earned his law degree from the Gonzaga University School of Law in 1974. He is active in his church, having served the past six years on the parish council, and is a long-time member of the Knights of Columbus. Sen. Padden has also served as a state commissioner for American Legion Baseball and is past president of the Spokane chapter. He is also an active volunteer for the Spokane Valley Meals on Wheels program.