Joe Fain and his family: wife Steffanie and their boys, Moxon Andrews, left, and Lincoln Joseph, with Waffles, the dog. COURTESY PHOTO

Joe Fain and his family: wife Steffanie and their boys, Moxon Andrews, left, and Lincoln Joseph, with Waffles, the dog. COURTESY PHOTO

Leaving proud and grateful

Fain offers former colleagues the best on his last day as state senator, looks forward to what’s ahead

Joe Fain lost his bid for a third term as state Senator for the 47th Legislative District last November to Mona Das, D-Covington, on the heels of a rape allegation leveled against him by a Seattle woman.

In early December, his former peers in Olympia decided to discontinue the investigation they’d begun into the allegation.

On Monday, as Das was coming in, Fain was heading out.

For people inclined to fret about him, Fain had this to say: don’t, doing great.

“The opportunity not to have to live away from my family for three or four nights a week is pretty awesome,” Fain said. “We’ve had a couple of really good months preparing for what it’s like to be full-time as a family, and it’s been a lot of fun.”

For instance, on the very eve of the new session, when Fain’d usually be up to his neck in preparations, he went snow tubing up at Snoqualmie Pass with wife Steffanie and their two small boys, Moxon Andrews and Lincoln Joseph.

“Thinking about things like that so close to the legislative start is a new thing for me. So, there’s a very, very bright silver lining,” Fain said.

Fain, an Auburn resident, who continues his employment at a Seattle-based strategy and consulting firm, thanked his many supporters for helping him keep up the cheer during the darkest days of the recent campaign and its aftermath.

“I think that people know the truth about who I am and what I have accomplished and my ethics. I had nothing but amazing support from all walks. I’ve got nothing but things to be proud of and grateful for,” Fain said.

With a backward glance at his crowded years in Olympia, Fain, well known for working across the political aisle, singled out some of his proudest accomplishments:

That he got to serve during some of the most consequential times in the state’s legislative history. To have come in at the beginning of the McCleary education-funding crisis and to be leaving office with the state Supreme Court’s seal of approval on the solution he helped develop, is extremely satisfying;

To have been able to bring together the left and the right, counties, cities and other groups to develop the largest transportation package in the state’s history and to have been integral in getting that across the finish line;

To have been author and negotiator to bringing business and labor together on the Paid Family Leave Act, which starts kicking in for families in less than a year;

To have been able to work with his Republican colleagues to recognize the value of investing in the state’s Dreamers and immigrant students with the passage of the Real Hope Act;

And to have fought for and preserved the four-year, balanced budget requirement, not nearly the most exciting thing on the list, he said, but the one that allows the state to do everything else by having sustainable budgeting.

“I’m nothing but ecstatic about the opportunities I’ve had in the legislature these last eight years and what I was able to do with that opportunity,” Fain said.

On his official last day as a state lawmaker, Fain posted the following advice on his Facebook page for those who still serve.

“With my official term of service to the Washington State Senate coming to an end at noon today, I want to wish all my colleagues good luck in the upcoming legislative session.

“Remember to always be measured in your words but know that words alone are a poor measure of your impact. Have fun, stay positive, and do your best to find progress and goodwill in these turbulent times.

“To the new members who I will not have the opportunity to serve with, some free advice that has served me well.

1. Be kind to everyone, but especially the security staff. They are the only people in Washington state that have had to be present for every floor speech. That alone deserves your respect.

2. Challenge every assumption. Tradition matters and those who don’t respect the institution are usually self-isolating. ‘That’s how we’ve always done it,’ is often an excuse used by the powerful to make positive change more difficult. Understand how to tell the difference, and don’t be afraid to push.

3. Agreeing with someone has nothing to do with liking them or being their friend.

4. When the vote is over, move on. The colleagues you were just fighting with may be the ones you are fighting alongside next time.

5. Cherish even the most aggravating moments. The day you enter the floor of your grand chamber without feeling a sense of purpose, humility and wonder should be your last.

6. Your time there may be as short as one term or as long as a career, but the one thing that is certain is that it will come to an end. As with all things, try to leave it better than you found it.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve. I’m forever grateful for your friendship.”

Would he consider running again?

“I am excited that I don’t need to make any decisions about that. Rather, I just need to support my family,” Fain said.


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