Seattle Times Profiles WA Gubernatorial Candidate Rob McKenna '88

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McKenna graduated from the UW in 1985 with degrees in international studies and economics. He applied to be a Rhodes Scholar but missed the cut.

Graduating from the University of Chicago law school in 1988, McKenna passed the bar exam and moved back to Bellevue, taking a job with the law firm Perkins Coie.

While working and starting to raise a family, McKenna immersed himself in civic affairs and Eastside Republican politics. He chaired the 41st District Republicans and worked on campaigns to elect Jane Hague to the Bellevue City Council and Dan McDonald to the state Legislature.

His prominence grew as he led fundraising campaigns for local schools and helped found Advance Bellevue, a training organization for community leaders. Soon, McKenna was being eyed by Republican talent scouts.

In 1993 McKenna was tapped to serve on a citizen commission drawing new district boundaries for the Metropolitan King County Council.

Two years later, he ran for the County Council seat vacated by retiring Republican Bruce Laing.

Running as an early critic of regional light rail and tolling plans, McKenna beat out a crowd of GOP rivals for the seat. He took office at age 33.

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