Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe shares ‘retirement’ plans

Following her retirement from the State Senate in January, Rosemary McAuliffe, who has lived in Bothell for 52 years and represented the area from the 1st District, is looking to immerse herself in her community.

“It’s been 24 years (in the senate),” she said. “It’s time for me to come home and be a community activist here in Bothell.”

In her “retirement,” McAuliffe plans to be involved with the Northshore School District’s strategic planning committee, continue to invest her time in The Music Project at the Northshore School District, work to establish a bachelor’s degree in nursing program at Lake Washington Institute of Technology and become more involved with the Hollywood School House, a Woodinville wedding, banquet and conference facility she owns with her husband, Jim.

“It didn’t take long to find things to do,” she said. “I think I’ll be pretty busy.”

On top of those activities, McAuliffe is considering a run for Bothell City Council in 2017. The positions currently occupied by Councilmembers Joshua Freed, Del Spivey, Tris Samberg and Tom Agnew will all be up for election.

McAuliffe said she and her husband have remained in Bothell for decades simply because “it’s home,” a place where she knows the people and the places. She specifically recalled going to the Ranch Drive-In while she was working as a nurse at Bothell Medical Clinic in 1963, and how she and her family have continued to go there throughout the years.

She was chair of the committee to revitalize Main Street in 1989, and she’s looking forward to what’s in store there.

“I’m excited to see it will be revitalized again,” she said, adding she hopes to see more connectivity between downtown Bothell and the University of Washington Bothell/Cascadia College campus as well.

After leaving the senate, McAuliffe also hopes to devote more time to her family, including her husband and their six children, 15 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

She first got into politics because of her children. Some of her kids had dyslexia, and she said she wanted to make sure they and other NSD students were getting the support they needed. She spent 14 years on the Northshore School Board, including two years as president.

“I was excited to be a leader for education,” she said.

Following that tenure, McAuliffe was approached to run for the state senate, where she would continue to advocate for students and education. One of her proudest accomplishments, she said, was helping facilitate the acquisition of the Boone-Truly Ranch land in 1995 for the UW Bothell and Cascadia campus.

“The University of Washington Bothell and Cascadia are outstanding universities for local students and (those who come from outside of the area),” McAuliffe said.

She also mentioned the passage of the 2015 “Nick of Time” bill, which prevents sudden cardiac arrest in student athletes through providing training for coaches and raising awareness through letters sent home to the athletes’ families, as one of her proudest accomplishments.

As for any missed opportunites while in office, she mentioned one: fully funding K-12 education as mandated by the 2012 Washington Supreme Court ruling popularly known as the McCleary decision. The decision calls for the legislature to adequately fund education by 2018, so that will be the top priority in the 2017 legislative session.

“It’s going to be a great challenge,” McAuliffe said, adding she will make herself available to Guy Palumbo, who was elected to her seat on Nov. 8, should he need any advice.

The work McAuliffe has done throughout her tenure as state senator has not gone unnoticed. Numerous accolades have poured in over the years, with two of the most recent being an honorary degree from LWTech and a special proclamation from the City of Bothell.

“You have found common ground with so many people in the state legislature to the benefit of Bothell,” Freed said as McAuliffe was presented with the City of Bothell proclamation. “You’ve always had Bothell in your heart.”

“I’m so appreciative of them recognizing I served them well,” McAuliffe said in response to the community support and accolades. “I’m pleased I was able to do so.”