Washington Independents Board of Directors


Hon. Brian Baird Former Democratic Member of Congress (WA-3)

Hon. Chris Vance Former Republican State Representative, King County Councilmember, and State Party Chairman


Hon. Ken Smith Former Northshore School Boardmember

Hon. Michael Luis Former Mayor of Medina

Capt. Rob Earle Merchant mariner and instructor

Parker Harris Teacher, Independent Candidate for the State Senate in 2017

Deena Heg Education/Workforce Consultant

Nathan Johnson Vice President of Strategic Development, Premera Blue Cross. Former Executive Director, King County Republican Party

Joe Quintana Strategic Communications and Public Affairs Consultant

Charlotte Starck Former journalist. National Director of Communications and Marketing, Aegis Living

Ned Witting Author. Activist. Former CFO, Print NW

Chris Vance

Photo of Chris Vance

Chris Vance was born in Seattle in 1962, and has lived in Washington all of his life.  He graduated from Sumner High School in 1980, and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Western Washington University in 1984.  

Chris and his wife, Ann, met in college and have been married for 30 years. They have two children: Adam, age 26, a recent graduate of the University of Washington, and Natalie, age 21, a Senior at Washington State University. Ann is a Special Education Paraeducator in the Auburn school district, and has published two books

From 1991 to 1993 Vance served in the State House of Representatives. He was the Assistant Republican Floor Leader, the second ranking Republican on the House Education Committee, and was one of the architects of the state’s landmark 1993 education reform plan.

From 1994 to 2001 Vance represented the people of south King County on the King County Council. He was a recognized bipartisan leader on budget, transportation and land-use issues, and is still the youngest person elected to the County Council.

Vance left the Council to become Chairman of the Washington State Republican Party from 2001 to 2006.

In 2016 he was the Republican nominee for the United States Senate.

Vance is currently a small business owner, operating his own public affairs consulting firm advising clients about public policy. He has served as a senior advisor to Superintendent of Public Instruction, Randy Dorn, a member of the management team of the King County Assessor’s Office, and is a part-time instructor at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Policy and Governance. Vance is also a frequent political analyst for various media outlets.

The Vances are a family of sports fanatics. Chris spent years coaching youth baseball and soccer, and he is the past President of the Auburn Youth Soccer Association.

Brian Baird

Photo of Brian Baird

The Honorable Brian Baird, Ph.D. served six terms, 12 years, in the United States House of Representatives, representing Washington State’s 3rd Congressional District. He retired from Congress in 2011.

In Congress, Dr. Baird was known for promoting congressional integrity, working across the aisle, taking principled stands on difficult issues, and for his leadership on ocean acidification, science, fiscal responsibility and congressional continuity.

Prior to serving in Congress, Baird chaired the Department of Psychology at Pacific Lutheran University and for more than two decades practiced clinically specializing in neuropsychology.

Baird has also been a university president, worked in the private sector and is founder and president of 4Pir2 Communication, a consulting firm focusing on public policy and science communication. He is married to Dr. Rachel Nugent, an economist focusing on global health and non-communicable diseases. With their twin sons they enjoy skiing, camping, sea kayaking, diving and travel.