OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Sen. Paull Shin announced his immediate resignation from the Washington state Senate on Tuesday following a recent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
In his resignation letter, the Democrat from Edmonds said he had originally planned to retire from the Legislature at the end of his term later this year, but that he determined that health problems, including the Alzheimer’s diagnosis, “make it impossible for me to represent my constituents in the manner in which they deserve.”
Shin, 78, was a college professor for 31 years, teaching East Asian studies at a variety of schools including the University of Washington, Western Washington University and Shoreline Community College.
He was elected to the state House in 1992 and served two years, before stepping down for an unsuccessful run for Congress. He narrowly lost the Democratic primary race for lieutenant governor in 1996 and was elected to the state Senate in 1999.
In floor speeches, Shin would occasionally speak of his childhood as an orphan in South Korea during the Korean War. He came to the United States after he was adopted by an American soldier.
Shin’s resignation comes less than a week before the start of the legislative session. The process to fill his seat starts with the Snohomish County Democratic Party, which will submit the names of three potential candidates to the Snohomish County Council, which will then appoint a person from the list.