Rossi’s public-service career began in 1997 when he was elected state senator from the 5th Legislative District in east King County. During his initial service in the state senate, Rossi received notoriety for his commitment to public-safety and his leadership as chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. While leading the senate’s key budget writing committee, Rossi crafted a balanced, bipartisan budget that erased a massive deficit without raising taxes and while still protecting Washington’s most vulnerable citizens.
He left the Senate in 2003 to run for governor and later for U.S. Senate.
Rossi returned to the Legislature briefly in 2012. The King County Council appointed him on July 9 to complete the term of the 5th District Senator who resigned to take another position. At that time, he made a commitment to not seek election to the seat, because under the state’s redistricting boundaries he would no longer be a 5th District resident. He kept his promise to his constituents, leaving the legislature at the end of that year’s session.
Dino Rossi is a third-generation Washingtonian, the grandson of an immigrant who worked in the coal mines in the rural King County community of Black Diamond. He and his six siblings were raised in Snohomish County by their father, a Seattle public schoolteacher, and their mother, a beautician.
He earned a business degree from Seattle University in 1982, working as a janitor and waxing floors at the Space Needle to pay his way through college. After graduation he ventured into the commercial real-estate business, which led to him being a principal in Coast Equity Partners in Everett, where he helps find investors for income properties in the Pacific Northwest.
Rossi and his wife Terry have four children and make their home in Sammamish. He serves on the board of directors of Special Olympics Washington and is a member of the Dean’s Executive Advisory Board for the Albers School of Business and Economics at Seattle University.