Fred Jarrett

Currently enjoying retirement after of public service and a long career, Fred’s been an active participant our region’s political life for over five decades. Most recently, Fred lead the executive branch of King County government, the King County Executive Leadership Team and the Executive’s Best Run Government Initiative. Previously a state senator, he served four terms in the state House of Representatives, after stints as Mercer Island Mayor and as a city council and school board member. Mr. Jarrett has also had a 35-year career at The Boeing Company.

Lessons from My Five Years on the Public Disclosure Commission

Over the last five years, I’ve watched the agency continue making great strides in transparency for campaign finance through upgrades to online filing, expanded training and outreach capabilities, and clear strategic planning.

Depressed About our Polarized Country? We’ve Figured it out Before.

It’s not a battle between democracy or authoritarianism.  It’s a contest between two alternative views of how democratic a society should organize itself and the compromises inherent in each.  

Getting Tough on Repeat Offenders of Public Disclosure Laws

The Public Disclosure Commission has spent the past several years ramping up its enforcement efforts for delinquent filers.

Making Jazz: How Our Politics Once Worked

There were norms beyond the written constitutions, laws and rules about how politicians interacted to govern a society. 

Meacham’s Lincoln: An Oft-Told Story, Refreshed

Frederick Douglass on Lincoln: “He never shocked prejudices unnecessarily.  Having learned statesmanship while splitting rails, he always used the thin edge of the wedge first – and the fact that he used it at all meant that he would, if need be, use the thick as well as the thin.”   

Sunlight: Making the State’s Public Disclosure Commission Work

The overriding goal is to provide a more complete picture of the activities that affect public policy on everything from public safety to environmental protection.

How to Make Governments Better Deliver Services

Our current system of budgeting public services is ridiculous. It takes too long and it focuses on spending levels not the quality of the deliverables.

Too Many, Too Much: King County Has More Government than it Needs

We fondly think electing office holders is an effective method for holding governments accountable, but it isn't.

How To Fix our Citizen Governance

The city-manager system would help at the local level, and an alternate-weekends model would be an improvement for the Legislature.

How, 50 Years Ago, Washington Citizens Rose Up to Enact Stiff Public Disclosure Laws

The law, strengthened and passed by voters' initiative, required disclosure of sources of campaign contributions along with reports of how the money was spent. It mandated reporting of personal financial interests by candidates, elected officials, and certain appointees. It also regulated lobbying and required reporting of the money lobbyists spend to influence legislation.