Mike Sells Labor Champion Award

Prestigious award to honor retired Washington State legislator Rep. Mike

The Snohomish & Island County Labor Council is proud to announce the creation of an award to honor retired Washington State legislator Representative Mike Sells (D-LD 38). The award will be given annually to a deserving recipient who has championed the cause of organized labor and public service in Western Washington.

The award trophy is crafted by several artisans, including Addison Karl, an award-winning sculptor; the 2 Ravens Foundry in Tacoma that cast a bronze relief as the centerpiece of the trophy; Mark and Marcus Ellinger of Glass Quest Studio, father-and-son glassblowers who created a torch on top of the oaken plaque crafted by woodworker and union member Dave Henson, IAFF 1828.

The sculpture depicts union workers, a nurse, a teacher and the symbols of Mike’s career: the Star and Stripes, the Capitol dome and the diverse members of our communities. On top of the trophy is a hand-crafted glass torch, to honor the winner who will take the torch of public service from Mike to continue his legacy.

For more than 30 years, Representative Mike Sells worked as an elementary and secondary school teacher in the Everett School District, a tenure marked by his leadership of the Everett Education Association and the source of his expertise and passion for education that he brought to the Washington State Legislative.

As a House member for 18 years, Mike has been committed to supporting job creation, workforce training and educational opportunity as the keys to building a strong regional and statewide economy. In fact, he was the leading force to make the Washington Aerospace Training and Research Center at Paine Field a reality and spearheaded the creation of a Bachelor of Science nursing program at Everett Community College University Center and WSU-Everett.

In the Legislature, Mike Sells chaired the Labor and Workplace Standards Committee, which developed strategies to align worker training with emerging industries in the state.

He served as the elected Secretary-Treasurer of the Snohomish County Labor Council, AFL/CIO for 28 years. The Council includes delegates from 64 public and private sector unions in Snohomish County, representing more than 44,000 working people.

Mike was first elected to the Washington House of Representative in 2004 as a Democratic candidate from LD-38, serving consecutive terms through his last re-election in 2020.

He has been married since 1971 to Gayle Stevens Sells, a piano teacher, and they have two grown children, Andy and Amy. He graduated from Central Washington University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Teacher Certification through the University of Washington.

Mike Sells Ceremony News Release

2022 Award Winner

The Mike Sells Labor Champion Award trophy. 
 Photo credit: Tami Lee
Mike Sells and his wife, Gayle Sells.
Photo credit: BadgleyPhotography.com
Mike Sells and his family.
Photo credit: BadgleyPhotography.com