Reverse Mortgage Legislator Elected Lt. Governor of Washington State

U.S. Representative Denny Heck (D-Wash.), who represents Washington state’s 10th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives, defeated his opponent in Tuesday’s general election in a contest deciding the next lieutenant governor of Washington state. This is according to data from the Washington secretary of state’s office and the Seattle Times.

Heck, who announced in December 2019 that he would be retiring from the House at the conclusion of his current term, led in the vote count by over 400,000 votes or more than 46% of the total count, which is insurmountable for his opponents in the race. Heck faced off against fellow Democrat Marko Liias, as both candidates advanced in Washington’s nonpartisan blanket “top two” primary this past August.

The Washington State Republican Party backed a write-in candidate, Joshua Freed, who managed to garner over 624,000 votes for a total of 19.69% at last count, a “surprising” margin for a write-in candidate according to the Seattle Times.

Official 116th Congressional Portrait of Rep. Denny Heck.
Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.)

Heck is a well-known entity in the reverse mortgage industry due to his legislative work that has directly affected it. Heck previously co-sponsored 2013’s Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act along with the late Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.), and was present in the Oval Office with National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) CEO and former President Peter Bell and then-HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan when President Barack Obama signed the measure into law.

More recently, Heck co-sponsored a bill with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) which aimed to address issues related to bolstering reverse mortgage borrower protections, based on a previously-introduced 2017 bill which failed to progress to the House floor while the body was under Republican control. The draft bill, titled the “Preventing Foreclosures on Seniors Act of 2019,” is designed to reform HUD’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program in ways that would help borrowers and non-borrowing spouses (NBS) of reverse mortgage borrowers avoid losing their homes.

As votes in the presidential election are still being tabulated, that race could also have a potential impact on Heck’s political future. In Washington, incumbent Governor Jay Inslee was re-elected to a third term but has been discussed as a candidate for a possible position in a Joe Biden administration should the former vice president prevail in the contest. If Biden wins and asks Inslee to join the administration, Heck would ascend to serve as governor of the state at least on a temporary basis.

“[Becoming governor] wasn’t the job I wanted,” Heck told the Seattle Times when asked about the possibility. “But should it happen, I’ll embrace. Frankly, I’m ready, having been chief of staff for [former Washington Governor] Booth Gardner.”

For his part, Inslee has adamantly denied having any ambition to serve in a possible Biden administration.

Heck is expected to take office in January, 2021. RMD inquired to the congressman’s office about the fate of his latest reverse mortgage-centric legislation, but did not hear back as of press time.

Read the story at the Seattle Times.

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