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Originally published January 15, 2013 at 6:39 PM | Page modified January 15, 2013 at 6:39 PM

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3 Democrats vie for vacant County Council seat

A lawyer, a state representative and a Shoreline City Council member are finalists for an appointment to a vacant North Seattle seat on the Metropolitan King County Council.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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A Seattle lawyer, a state representative and a Shoreline City Council member are the finalists for a seat on the Metropolitan King County Council being vacated by Bob Ferguson.

Ferguson was elected state attorney general in November.

King County Executive Dow Constantine sent the names of three finalists to the Metropolitan King County Council on Tuesday. The council has 60 days to select a replacement.

The winner gets a one-year head-start on the King County Council, but all three say they are likely to run for County Council this year whether they get appointed to the vacant seat or not.

Rod Dembowski, a Seattle land-use and municipal lawyer for Foster Pepper, said he supports asking voters for additional human-service funding. The county has cut back its human-services funding drastically in the past several years.

Dembowski, 41, lives in North Seattle. He has raised $64,000 for his race. “I’m all in,” he said. “The county government covers the issues I care most about.”

Shoreline City Council member Will Hall, 49, works as a legislative analyst for the Snohomish County Council, so he said he’s very well-informed on county issues.

He would like to find additional taxes or fees to improve transit service. He would like to increase the county’s funding of human services, as well, but is unsure about a ballot measure. He has raised just over $3,000 for his campaign.

State Rep. Cindy Ryu, 55, who represents the 32nd legislative district, is a former Shoreline mayor. She supports an additional fee to pay for roads and transit in the county — perhaps a $40 car-tab fee. And she supports a levy to help fund human services, particularly to help with mental health and homelessness.

She has raised $31,700 for her campaign.

Like Ferguson, the three candidates are all Democrats.

District 1 includes Northeast Seattle, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Bothell and parts of Woodinville and Kirkland. Its population is 214,883, according to the King County Districting Committee.

The next step is for the eight members of the Metropolitan King County Council to interview the three candidates and choose one. There is no date set for that, yet.

Emily Heffter: 206-464-8246 or eheffter@seattletimes.com On Twitter: @EmilyHeffter

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