Padden will not seek reelection to 4th District Senate seat

After serving in the Washington State Senate since 2011, Sen. Mike Padden announced today that he will not seek reelection to his 4th Legislative District seat this year.

“It has been a tremendous honor and privilege to serve our 4th District in the state Senate these past dozen years,” said Padden, R-Spokane Valley. “After much thought and discussion with my wife, Laura, I have decided it is time to retire from office. I appreciate the opportunity to work with all of my legislative colleagues on a variety of issues over these years to make Washington better. I will miss my relationships with each and every one of them.”

Padden is the longtime Republican leader on the Senate Law and Justice Committee. He also serves on the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee and Senate Transportation Committee.

While much of his policy work has concerned public safety and the law, the hallmark of Padden’s legislative career has been his dedication to defending life, from the unborn to the innocent victims of crime.

He has been an outspoken opponent of efforts to expand access to abortions, particularly beyond what voters placed into state law decades ago, and worked tirelessly to strengthen Washington laws concerning impaired driving, which he describes as a completely preventable crime.

“While I have focused on many issues, public safety has been especially important to me throughout my years as a legislator,” said Padden, who pointed out crime has worsened in Washington.

“There has been a sharp increase in several types of crime in recent years, including auto thefts and burglaries. I’m disappointed that House Democrats did not follow the Senate on the habitual property offender bill (SB 5056, introduced by Padden) and Senator Lynda Wilson’s opioid reckless endangerment bill (SB 5010). Washington has far to go in terms of improving public safety.”

Padden became 4th District senator through a special election in 2011, then was reelected in 2012, 2016 and 2020.

Padden will leave office after serving a combined 28 legislative sessions in Olympia, including 15 in the House of Representatives, from 1981 to 1995. Padden was elected to a 4th District House seat in 1980 and was reelected seven times. He was House majority floor leader during the 1995 legislative session.

Padden resigned his 4th District House seat in March 1995 when he was appointed as a Spokane County District Court judge. He won three additional terms as a district court judge through countywide elections. Padden retired as a judge in January 2007.

In 2008, Padden 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.

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 two years on the parish council, and is a long-time member of the Knights of Columbus. Padden has also served as a state commissioner for American Legion Baseball and is past president of the Spokane chapter. He is also a volunteer for the Spokane Valley Meals on Wheels program.

Padden and his wife, Laura, have five sons and four grandchildren.

“We look forward to traveling and spending even more time with our sons and grandkids,” said Padden.