Catching up with Zarelli, saying goodbye to Pridemore

What has life after the Senate been like for Ridgefield Republican Joe Zarelli? “Grandkids and business,” he summed up in a recent interview with The Columbian.

Zarelli said that although he’s still “very interested and care(s) about what goes on politically,” he says he hasn’t “really looked back on anything.”

After serving 17 years in the state legislature, Zarelli resigned from his 18th District Senate seat in May.

His resignation caused the political world to buzz with speculation. Many wondered if Zarelli had his sights set on a job within Rob McKenna’s administration, assuming McKenna won his gubernatorial race. (As we all know, McKenna lost to Democrat Jay Inslee.)

Zarelli denied having any other job lined up when he resigned, and he said he wanted to focus on his business-consulting firm, JP Zarelli Inc. Since resigning, Zarelli said he’s kept busy working on projects for a couple of client groups.

“My plans have been to get myself fully reinvested in business life,” and that hasn’t changed, Zarelli said.

He also said he won’t rule out getting back into politics in the future.

“It’s just a matter of what comes up,” especially if “something has my name on it,” he said.

Pridemore thanked for service

As Zarelli settles into life after politics, state Sen. Craig Pridemore, D-Vancouver, is saying his goodbyes in Olympia.

During a Joint Legislative Audit & Review Committee (JLARC) meeting earlier this month, Pridemore was applauded for his service. Rather than seek re-election to the Senate, Pridemore ran unsuccessfully for state auditor. He lost in the primary to Democrat Troy Kelley, who went on to win the general election.

In perhaps an awkward moment, Kelley, another member of the committee, was congratulated for his election win. Kelley and a third Democrat who ran for state auditor, Mark Miloscia, also got a shout-out for their service on JLARC.

“All of you have been strong supporters of using performance audits as a tool to improve state government, and on behalf of the whole JLARC committee, we want to thank all of you for your support and your dedication,” state Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, R-Wenatchee, said. “Let’s give them a hand.”

Pridemore was elected to the Senate in 2004, began serving on JLARC in 2007, and has chaired the committee for about a year and a half.

After he, Kelley and Miloscia were thanked for their service, Pridemore joked: “All three of those names seem oddly familiar to me. I don’t know why that is.”

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or or or

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