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John W. Ladenburg, Sr.

The third of 16 children, John Ladenburg was born in Leavenworth, WA and graduated from Stadium High School in Tacoma. He received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Gonzaga University. John married his wife, Connie, 49 years ago. They have five grown children and eleven grandchildren.  John is admitted to the US Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Federal District Courts for Western and Eastern Washington, the Washington Supreme Court and all Washington courts and the Puyallup and Nisqually Tribal Courts.  John has been a member of the trial lawyers association for over 44 years.

Prior to elected office, John spent a decade managing his own law firm, representing crime victims and small business clients. He was also involved in several high-profile cases ranging from the federal Salmon-scam to the Pierce County Racketeering trials. John represented tribal members in Washington and Oregon attempting to recover their treaty fishing rights, becoming a well-known trial lawyer.  John’s combination of skills as a trial lawyer, negotiator, agency head, economic development executive and his far-reaching contacts in the government and business community make him invaluable in complex negotiations and settlements.

John has also served on dozens of boards and commissions in Washington State and is currently the Chairman of the Washington State Ethics Board which oversees all Executive Branch agencies in the State.

John entered public service as a Tacoma City Council member. Right away he became a leader in protecting the environment and in establishing clean drinking water standards. John was selected by the Council to be lead negotiator in the historic Puyallup Indian Land Claims settlement. After five years of negotiations wherein John chaired the non-Indian strategy committee, a landmark settlement of over $160 million dollars was reached.

John’s expert skills as a negotiator lead to him being selected to be President of the Puget Sound Economic Development Board and President of the Puget Sound Regional Council. While there, John helped create the Prosperity Partnership, a partnership of the public and private sectors that would work to make a new Puget Sound Economic plan.

John was elected Prosecuting Attorney in 1986, defeating an incumbent Prosecutor. Throughout his time in office, John received national recognition for innovative and positive changes. As the Legislative Chair of the State Prosecutor’s Association, he was instrumental in writing new laws against drug dealers and gang violence.

In 2000, John was elected Pierce County Executive.  John joined the Sound Transit Board right at the time the agency was forced to announce it was far over budget and behind schedule. John wasted no time turning the troubled agency around. Although it was tradition for members to serve only two years as Chair of the Board, John was asked by fellow members to serve an unprecedented four straight years, stepping down in January 2008. When John took over as Chair, the Link Light Rail line to the airport was less than 10% complete.  By the time he left the Board, it was more than 95% complete and on time and on budget.

In his second term as Pierce County Executive,  John spearheaded the development of Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, designed to bring tourists and professional golf to the region.  The Course was lauded as the best new public course in the nation and immediately drew a US Amateur championship and a US Open championship.  The US Open created over $120 million in economic benefits and the Course continues to draw tourists from around the world.

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