State Sen. Carrell of Lakewood loses battle with MDS

State Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, died Wednesday. He was 69.

SEATTLE -- State Sen. Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, died Wednesday of complications from the pre-cancer condition myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS. He was 69.

Carrell was surrounded by family and friends at the University of Washington Medical Center when he died, state Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, said.

He had been receiving an aggressive treatment of stem-cell transplantation and chemotherapy since mid-April after doctors identified a donor who was a perfect match for Carrell’s bone marrow type.

“Mike passed today at about 10:35 am, very peacefully in his sleep, at UW hospital, with his wife Charlotte nearby, of lung complications from his pre-cancer treatment,” Schoesler said.

“Senator Carrell was a true statesman who put the people of Washington above all else during his 19 years of public service as a legislator. It was a pleasure to serve with him throughout his distinguished Senate career. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family during this difficult time," Schoesler said.

Carrell had been a school teacher for 30 years before he was elected in 1994 to the state House, where he represented the 28th Legislative District for 10 years before his election to the state Senate in 2004 and re-election in 2008 and 2012.

During his tenure, he authored a landmark bill to reform the criminal justice system in Washington by better protecting the public by assuring that no one community is overburdened by returning felons.

He also wrote the “Becca laws,” which help identify at-risk youths who skip school so they can be given the assistance they need to keep from becoming criminal offenders.

Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray, D-Seattle, and Sens. Steve Conway and Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma, issued the following statement:

“It’s a sorrowful day in the Senate. Mike Carrell was an excellent public servant. Respectfully, our thoughts are with Mike’s family and not on any implications his passing may have on the Senate. Today the Senate lost one of its own. Mike Carrell will be missed.”

A lifelong resident of the Tacoma area, Carrell lived in Lakewood with his wife, Charlotte, and is survived by their three sons, Matthew, Larry and Carlton, and five grandchildren.


Here is the process for filling Carrell’s seat in the state Senate.

-- The Pierce County Republican precinct committee officers will send the Pierce County Council a list of three people to replace  Carrell as the 28th Legislative District’s senator.

-- The Pierce County Council has 60 days from the date of vacancy (May 29) to fill the vacancy from the list of names provided by the PCOs.

-- If the council can’t choose an appointee from the list during this time, Gov. Jay Inslee will decide on an appointee from the list provided by the Pierce County Republican PCOs.

-- Whoever is appointed to the Senate seat can be sworn in to office immediately.

-- Whoever is appointed to fill Carrell's seat will serve until November 2014. (Under state law, because his death occurred on or after the Monday of this year’s Candidate Filing Week, it is too late to have a special election for the 28th District Senate seat in November 2013.)

-- A special election for the 28th District Senate seat will be held in November 2014. The winner of that election will serve the final two years of the four-year term. The 28th District Senate seat will be up for election again in November 2016.