Joe is deeply involved in many issues crucial to South King County. Joe is an experienced civic leader who has worked to improve education, balance budgets, and promote private sector job growth.
A fourth generation Washingtonian, the Fain family has built strong roots in the community.
Joe’s wife, Steffanie, is an attorney at Gordon & Rees LLP in Seattle and a former judicial extern at the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. Steffanie, a breast cancer survivor, has volunteered for breast cancer awareness organizations including Susan G. Komen Puget Sound, and the Northwest affiliate of Young Survival Coalition. Steffanie also serves on the board for Trillium Employment Services and is a Trustee on the Harborview Hospital Board of Directors. She is also formerly a member of the South King County Multicare Foundation Board and was also chosen to serve as a spokesperson for Under Armour’s nationwide breast cancer awareness campaign.
Joe’s mother, Geraldine, was a longtime assistant superintendent for public schools in South King County. She also serves as the past president of Highline Medical Center, and was Seafair Queen in 1964. Joe’s father, Dick Sr., is a past Rotary president, retired public school principal, and retired Lt. Cmdr. in the U.S. Navy. Joe’s brother, Dick Jr., is the voice of the Seattle Storm and works as an on-air personality for one of Seattle’s sports radio stations.
Steffanie and Joe enjoy Seahawks football and Sounders soccer, and first met following the Seahawks’ razor-thin two point victory over the Rams in 2006. They recently welcomed their first child, Moxon, in April of 2016. The Fains and their beloved schnorkie, Waffles, live in Auburn.
After graduating from Mt. Rainier High School in Des Moines, Joe earned his BA from the University of Washington. He continued his studies while working full-time for the King County Council, attending evening classes at Seattle University, where he earned an MBA and a law degree.
Joe was also selected in 2016 as a Rodel Fellow with the nonpartisan Aspen Institute. Rodel is a prestigious program that selects a small number of elected officials each year for its national leadership training.
Joe is an active member of the South King County community. He was an award-winning high school swim coach for the Highline and Renton school districts, and was recognized as Washington State Coach of the Year in 2002.
He is also active on education issues. In 2006, Joe co-chaired a boundary review committee for the Kent and Auburn school districts, served as mentor for the Aviation High School, and is a past member of the foundation board of directors for Highline Community College.
Joe currently sits on the board of Nexus (Auburn Youth Resources), a nonprofit organization that provides treatment and counseling for at-risk youth throughout the region. He also serves on the board of the recently formed Auburn Public Schools Foundation, Washington First Robotics, and Sports in Schools.
Joe shares his wife’s passion for raising cancer awareness. He is a former board member and served as a volunteer emcee for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Joe and Steffanie have also participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and the 3 day Walk.
Throughout the year, Joe helps raise money for area-charities as a volunteer emcee and auctioneer. Joe has helped raise over a million dollars for organizations serving our region.
Joe has also been involved in the South King County Multiservice Center and has served as a volunteer instructor for the American Red Cross of King County.
Joe was elected to the State Senate in 2010, and serves as the Senate's Majority Floor Leader. He sits on the Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee; Healthcare Committee; Financial, Housing, and Insurance Committee; Rules Committee; and is a member of the Senate's senior leadership.
Prior to his election, Joe worked nearly a decade in all three branches of King County government, most recently as Chief of Staff for Councilmember Pete von Reichbauer. In 2013, Joe worked as a trial prosecutor for King County outside the legislative session. There, he successfully prosecuted DUI crimes for the people of King County. Joe has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Highline College where he taught Political Science.
During the previous legislative interims, Joe served as the Director of Economic Development at the University of Washington's technology transfer and commercialization hub, known as CoMotion. There, he worked with innovators within the University to help connect their new technologies to public and private sector partners. At UW he also worked to connect public and private sector needs with the undergraduate, graduate, and faculty expertise needed to solve our region's unique challenges in areas like transportation.
Joe currently serves as counsel and strategic advisor for Coopersmith Law + Strategy. There he specializes in Healthcare law and commercial strategy.
Joe is a strong advocate on issues crucial to South King County. In 2007, he was involved in creating the King County Flood Control District, successfully advocating for funds to shore up levees along the Green River. Joe has also been a strong advocate for transportation projects in the 47th district, particularly those that would improve traffic flow through key freight corridors such as Highway 167 from Renton to Tacoma. Joe was a key negotiator in passage of the 2015 statewide transportation package, which funded important regional projects like the 18 to I-19 interchange, Highway 509, and local improvements like 272nd through Covington to Maple Valley.
In 2008, Joe sponsored the initiative to reform King County government, successfully making county offices nonpartisan. King County voters overwhelmingly approved the reform, with the support of the nonpartisan Municipal League, the Seattle Times, no fewer than three dozen city councilmembers and mayors, and over 64 percent of 47th District voters.
- Championed animal protection legislation to stop animal cruelty and neglect.
- Led the charge to restore cuts to State Food Assistance for families with young children.
- Worked with the Attorney General to champion open government training for elected officials to preserve the public's access to their records.
- Ensured passage of the Real Hope Act (Dream Act) to provide education opportunities to all children in Washington.
- Gained tougher protections for courthouse employees against physical abuse.
- Fought the extension of "temporary" taxes that hurt small businesses.
- Helped lead the successful negotiations for a state-wide transportation package targeting traffic relief for South King County.
- Sponsored legislation to provide extended housing and social services to foster youth with serious medical conditions.
- Held tuition flat at Washington State colleges and universities for the first time since 1986.
- Secured needed levee funding for flood protection in the Green River Valley.
- Co-sponsored legislation that moved 5,000 individuals with developmental disabilities off of a wait list and into needed services.
- Secured funding to build additional youth baseball and soccer facilities in our community.
- Prioritized funding for the Renton Aerospace Training Center to provide training for family-wage jobs.
- Led the successful negotiations and prime-sponsored legislation to create the best Family and Medical Leave law in the nation with support from business and labor.