Hearing examiner is a candidate for Court of Appeals

OLYMPIA — Thurston County Hearing Examiner Thomas Bjorgen has announced his candidacy for judge on the Washington State Court of Appeals, Division II, District 2.

The seat is being vacated by  Judge David Armstrong, who is retiring. Division II, District 2 is elected by voters in Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason and Thurston counties. Appeals Court judges serve six-year terms.

In his 33-year legal career, Bjorgen worked as state assistant attorney general, as counsel in the state Legislature, and as a senior deputy prosecuting attorney for Thurston County. He wrote briefs for cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and argued cases before other federal courts, the state Supreme Court, and the Court of Appeals. Later, he went into private practice, representing public and private clients and serving as a legal mediator and arbitrator.

Currently, he is the hearing examiner for Thurston County and the cities of Olympia and DuPont, where he judges legal disputes about property development.

Former Washington State Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge said of Bjorgen, “Thomas Bjorgen understands the law, and he understands how it affects people in their real lives.”

Former Washington Secretary of State Ralph Munro added, “In all my years with state government, Tom Bjorgen was one of the brightest and best lawyers that I ever worked with. He is fair, knowledgeable, respectful, and very smart. Tom always listens to each side of the argument and then makes his decision based on facts, fairness, and the law, not on politics.”

Bjorgen is also endorsed by former Thurston Superior Court Judge Daniel Berschauer, state Sen. Karen Fraser, state Rep. Sam Hunt, Thurston county commissioners Sandra Romero and Karen Valenzuela, Thurston County Treasurer Shawn Myers, Olympia Mayor Stephen Buxbaum, Lacey Mayor Virgil Clarkson, and former Olympia mayors Mark Foutch and Bob Jacobs.

Bjorgen graduated from Washington State University with high honors and earned his law degree from the University of Washington.

Bjorgen served on the board of the Nisqually River Basin Land Trust and the Washington Environmental Council, helped establish the Volunteer Legal Clinic in Olympia, and was a long-time volunteer at a local kitchen for the homeless. He is married and lives near Olympia.


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