OLYMPIA — State Sen. Paull Shin, D-Edmonds, is stepping down from the Senate and in a statement cited Alzheimer’s disease as a factor.
Shin, who is 78, was elected to the Senate in 1998 and served on the Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development committee and the Trade and Economic Development committee.
This is turning into a rebuilding year for the Senate Democratic caucus, which has lost several members in recent months.
Sen. Nathan Schlicher, D-Gig Harbor, lost his seat in the November election to a Republican challenger, dropping the Democratic caucus down to 23 members, its lowest ebb in 16 years.
Former Sen. Ed Murray left to become the new mayor of Seattle. Former Sen. Nick Harper, D-Everett, resigned in November and now works for Murray. Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle, recently announced he would not seek re-election when his term ends.
Democrats consider the new openings to be safe districts for their party. House members tend to fill the void when lawmakers leave the Senate, creating a domino effect of seats opening up in both chambers.
Shin, when he was campaigning, would often tell his life story of being an orphan living on the streets in Korea and being adopted at age 16 by an American soldier.
He went on to earn a doctorate in history, ran a successful business and later became a trade adviser to Washington governors.
In his statement Tuesday, Shin said, “I have loved this place and the work we do here on behalf of the people of Washington. Unfortunately, I have determined with the assistance of my family that recent health problems and a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease make it impossible for me to represent my constituents in the manner they deserve.”