Twelve commissioners from four counties Monday selected Quincy school board member Alex Ybarra to replace state Rep. Matt Manweller in the 13th Legislative District.
Manweller, R-Ellensburg, stepped down Monday. He was asked to resign from the Legislature by Republican party leaders in September following allegations he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old former high school student in 1997. He has denied the account.
Commissioners from Yakima, Grant, Lincoln and Kittitas counties met in Ephrata to select his replacement.
“Congratulations to Alex,” Yakima County Commissioner Mike Leita said afterward. “He’s well adept and well informed of the issues in our collective counties, issues around water. I think Alex will serve us well in that regard.”
Ybarra is an energy-reliability compliance auditor for the Grant County Public Utility District. He is on the Quincy school board, the Washington State Commission for Hispanic Affairs and is a director with the Washington State School Directors Association.
Ybarra was chosen over Danny Stone, a wheat farmer from Grant and Lincoln counties, and Ian Elliot, a former legislator from the Ellensburg area.
Stone was eliminated in the first vote, and commissioners chose Ybarra over Elliot by 8-4.
“I think all the candidates were qualified in their respective ways and I think all three would have served the district very well,” Leita said. “They’re all talented individuals.”
Ybarra couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
“It’s my understanding that he’s already on the road or soon to be on the road to Olympia,” Leita said.
The Legislative session began Monday.
Leita said Ybarra and Elliot both intend to seek the position in the next election.
Manweller, a political science professor, was fired from Central Washington University last fall after an investigation into his conduct with female students. Manweller denies all allegations and is suing for wrongful termination.