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Government and Politics
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Women, Gen Xers Prepare To Take Statewide Office In Olympia

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Washington Legislature/Campaign photos
Among the new statewide officeholders in Washington state are, clockwise from top left, Cyrus Habib, Hilary Franz, Chris Rekdahl and Pat McCarthy.

The face of Washington state government is about to get a makeover. Five new statewide elected officials will take office in January -- a record in modern times.

The new crop of officeholders are younger, more diverse, and more of them women. Three are Gen Xers: newly elected Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, State Schools Superintendent Chris Rekdahl and Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz.

Habib is the youngest at just 35. He’s also blind and the first Middle Eastern-American to hold statewide office in the country.

Women will also now occupy three of Washington’s nine statewide elected offices. In addition to Franz, there’s State Auditor-elect Pat McCarthy and incumbent Secretary of State Kim Wyman.

Currently Wyman is the only Republican to hold statewide office. But not for long. She’ll soon be joined by Treasurer-elect Duane Davidson.

The new officeholders will be sworn in on Wednesday, January 11.