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King County Districting Committee selects Judge Ann Schindler as Chair

Summary

The 2021 King County Districting Committee unanimously selected former Washington Appeals Court Judge Ann Schindler as its chair and fifth member.

Story

The 2021 King County Districting Committee has unanimously selected former Washington Appeals Court Judge Ann Schindler as its chair and fifth member. The selection was formalized on March 3.

The committee will redraw the boundaries for King County Council districts using 2020 Census data in a process that runs parallel to state and federal redistricting.

“It is an honor to be selected to serve as the chair of the Districting Committee and I look forward to working with the committee members and staff on this important project,” Schindler said.

Schindler, who retired the end of 2019, served for 17 years on the Washington State Court of Appeals, and was a trial court judge in King County Superior Court for over 10 years prior to that, as well as many years in private practice.

"We are excited to welcome retired Judge Schindler as the new chair of the 2021 King County Districting Committee,” said Districting Committee member Rob Saka. “Chair Schindler brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to help us carry out this foundational component of our government. I am confident that she will help us better serve all 2.2 million-plus residents of King County by building a fair, transparent, equitable, and inclusive process that lives up to the values of our County."

The other four members were confirmed by the King County Council on Jan. 12, and their first job was to select a chair.

“We were lucky to have so many talented and accomplished community members willing to take on this important work,” said Districting Committee member Sophia Danenberg. “Judge Schindler stood out due to her reputation for thoughtful and fair leadership as well as her extensive experience working with the county. I look forward to working with her to serve the people of King County.”

“Judge Schindler served with distinction for 25 years as a trial and appellate court judge, where she was the chief judge of first the King County Superior Court and then Division One of the Court of Appeals,” said Districting Committee member Paul Graves. “I have every confidence she will make an outstanding chair for the Districting Committee.”

Ordinance 19178, enacted in October 2020, revised the appointment process to affirm that it is a non-partisan and independent group that will use data to assess and adjust Council district boundaries. With the support of an outside data consultant called a “districting master,” committee members will work throughout 2021 and provide the updated Council district map to the King County Council by the end of the year. 

The new map will become effective once it is submitted to Council Clerk. The Council has no role in approving or amending the map. 

The committee members include:

Chair Ann Schindler: Schindler, who retired at the end of 2019, spent her career dedicated to the administration of justice. She began in private practice before joining the King County Prosecutor's Office, Civil Division, in 1982. In April 1991, Gov. Booth Gardner appointed Schindler as a King County Superior Court Judge. She spent more than 10 years as a trial court judge, including serving as the first Chief Judge of the Maleng Regional Justice Center.

In January 2002, Gov. Gary Locke appointed Schindler to the Washington State Court of Appeals. During her 17 year tenure on the Appeals Court, she served as a Division One Chief Judge, Presiding Judge for three divisions, and as a member of the Washington Board of Judicial Administration. She was recognized with the King County Bar Association Outstanding Judge of the Year Award and the Washington Women Lawyers Vanguard Award and President's Award. Outside the courtroom, Judge Schindler was a long-time member of the Gender and Justice Commission and co-chair of the Access to Justice Conference.

Originally from the San Francisco Bay area, Schindler graduated from the UW School of Law and has resided in Washington state since 1973.

Rob Saka: Rob Saka is a cybersecurity and compliance attorney (at Microsoft), police reform advocate, and Air Force Veteran. Rob has been deeply involved in leading various community and civic engagement efforts over the years. His past contributions include his service on various nonprofit boards such as the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, and his pro bono representation of homeless military veterans via the Seattle Stand Down initiative. In addition, Rob served on the 2018-19 King County Charter Review Commission where he helped champion and pass three criminal legal justice system reform and equity amendments to the King County Charter—namely, those related to OLEO subpoena power, inquests, and new antidiscrimination protections for family caregivers and Veterans—which were approved by voters in November 2020.

Rob is a graduate of Kent-Meridian High School, University of Washington, and the University of California Hastings Law. He has been named a “40 Under 40” honoree for 2020 by the Puget Sound Business Journal. A former mildly competitive distance runner, Rob is a Qualifier-Finisher-Survivor of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Sophia Danenberg: Danenberg leads international environmental policy analysis in Global Enterprise Sustainability at The Boeing Company. She also volunteers on the boards of NatureBridge, the National Institute of Reproductive Health, on the legislative and public affairs committee for the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), and as a Washington State Parks and Recreation Commissioner. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in environmental sciences and public policy and was a Fulbright Fellow in econometrics at Keio University in Tokyo. Outside of work, she is an avid climber, hiker, and mountaineer, and in 2006 became the first African-American to summit Mount Everest.

Paul Graves: Graves served as state representative for East King County from 2017-2019. A lawyer committed to protecting the vulnerable, Paul has devoted a substantial part of his career to representing foster youth for free in court proceedings; for his work he was named the pro bono attorney of the year by King County's leading foster youth advocacy organization. Born and raised in Maple Valley and now living in Newcastle, Paul is excited to serve his county on the redistricting commission.

Cherryl Jackson-Williams: Jackson-Williamson believes in centering equity in the decision-making process. As a result, she observes how decisions impact our most vulnerable community members and works in collaboration with others to identify solutions.