Hanford activist Pollet appointed to state House

Gerald Pollet, a Hanford activist as the executive director of Heart of America Northwest, also will be serving as a Washington state legislator.

He was picked Monday to represent the 46th Legislative District in the state House of Representatives by the Metropolitan King County Council. He also was sworn in Monday, clearing the way to begin to serve in the Legislature immediately.

Pollet, a watchdog and critic of the way Hanford nuclear reservation environmental cleanup is being conducted, was picked by unanimous vote of the King County Council to represent the north Seattle district in the position formerly held by David Frockt. Frockt was selected in November to fill the same district's state Senate seat after the sudden death of Sen. Scott White in October.

On Thursday, the Democratic Precinct Committee officers in the 46th District picked Pollet as their favored candidate after three votes, then the King County Democratic Committee forwarded the top three candidates in ranked order to the county council.

Pollet served as chairman of the coalition promoting Initiative 297, which would have prohibited more radioactive waste from being sent to Hanford until waste already there was cleaned up. It was passed by about 70 percent of the state's voters in 2004 but declared invalid by the courts.

Benton and Franklin were the only counties in the state to oppose the initiative, after concerns were raised about what the prohibition on waste being sent to Hanford would mean for substantial amounts of Hanford waste intended to be shipped out of Washington for disposal.

Pollet is serving his 10th term as chairman of the Hanford Advisory Board's Budgets and Contracts Committee, which reviews Hanford budgets, management and contracts. He has worked with Democratic congressional leaders to provide the research and advocacy to reduce wasteful spending at Hanford, he said in information in his application for the legislative position.

Pollet has received numerous awards for his work with Heart of America Northwest. He was named the National Grassroots Activist of the Year by the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability and received the Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility's top annual award.

Pollet ran unsuccessfully for the 46th Legislative District House seat in 2008.

-- Annette Cary: 582-1533; acary@tricityherald.com; more Hanford news at hanfordnews.com.