Pierce County Council members unanimously appointed former councilman Dick Muri on Tuesday to a vacant state House seat less than a month after rejecting him for a Senate seat.
Muri, who left the County Council in December after nine years because of term limits, will represent the 28th District, taking the seat formerly held by Steve O’Ban.
Republican precinct committee officers backed Muri for the House seat as they also had in May to replace the late Sen. Mike Carrell. Last month, the council appointed then-Rep. O’Ban to Carrell’s Senate seat.
Muri now will fill O’Ban’s former House seat for a year and a half until the November 2014 election.
In late June, GOP precinct committee officers gave Muri 25 votes to 12 for Clover Park School Board member Paul Wagemann and two for nonprofit executive Malcolm Russell. The Republican PCOs also had given Muri their top ranking in May, with O’Ban second.
Members of the public who attended Tuesday’s council meeting praised both Muri and Wagemann. Supporters called Muri a “true public servant.” Wagemann’s backers said he is a person of high integrity who could work across the aisle.
Council member Rick Talbert, D-Tacoma, praised all three candidates.
He’s worked with Muri both as a staff member and council colleague.
“He’s certainly a known entity to me,” Talbert said. “I’m very comfortable with the thought of putting him in this position.”
Muri, 59, lives in Steilacoom and is a retired Air Force officer who has made unsuccessful bids for Congress. He bills himself as a fiscally conservative Republican who also can work with Democrats.
Republicans control five of seven seats on the County Council, which was required by law to pick one of the three GOP choices.
In early June, the council voted unanimously to appoint O’Ban after a 4-3 vote to reject Muri. This time, Muri won all seven votes.
“I promise you I’m going to do a good job,” Muri told the council. “I’m going to work hard to retain this office.”Steve Maynard: 253-597-8647 firstname.lastname@example.org blog.thenewstribune.com/street @TNTstevemaynard