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John M. Koster (born September 8, 1951) is an American politician of the Republican Party.[2] He is a former member of the Snohomish County Council and Washington House of Representatives.

John Koster
Washington State Representative from the 39th Legislative District, Position 2
In office
January 9, 1995 (1995-01-09) – January 8, 2001 (2001-01-08)[1]
Preceded byHans Dunshee
Succeeded byKirk Pearson
In office
2017 – September 1, 2017 (2017-09-01)
Preceded byElizabeth Scott
Succeeded byCarolyn Eslick
Snohomish County Council, District 1
In office
January 1, 2002 (2002-01-01) – January 1, 2014 (2014-01-01)
Preceded byMike Ashley
Succeeded byKen Klein
Personal details
John M. Koster

(1951-09-08) September 8, 1951 (age 67)
Arlington, Washington, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Vicki L. (Peterson) Koster
ResidenceArlington Heights, Washington
Alma materEverett Community College (A.A.)
ProfessionAmerican Politician and Former Dairy farm Owner, Manager, and Consultant

Political careerEdit

Koster was first elected to the Washington House of Representatives in 1994 and reelected in 1996 and 1998. In 2016, Koster successfully ran for reelection, replacing Elizabeth Scott.

Koster was elected to the Snohomish County Council in 2001 and reelected in 2005 and 2009, representing Council District 1.

Koster has three times ran unsuccessfully for the United States House of Representatives in 2000, 2010, and 2012. In November 2015, Koster was elected Charter Review Commissioner for Snohomish County.[3]

On December 20, 2013 it was announced that the term-limited Koster would be the first-ever Snohomish County Ombudsman after his term in the Snohomish County Council comes to an end on January 1, 2014.[4]

In July 2017, Koster announced his retirement from the State House to lead the County Road Administration Board as its executive director. He was succeeded by Sultan Mayor Carolyn Eslick.[5]


During the 2012 election, Koster was asked after a campaign fundraiser on October 28, 2012, about exceptions from abortion prohibition for rape and incest victims. He said, "Incest is so rare, I mean, it's so rare ... But the rape thing—you know, I know a woman who was raped and kept the child, gave it up for adoption, and she doesn't regret it." He added, "On the rape thing, it's like, how does putting more violence onto a woman's body and taking the life of an innocent child that's a consequence of this crime—how does that make it better? You know what I mean?"[6]

His comments, including the use of the words "rape thing", drew local and national criticism.[7][8][9][10] Koster acknowledged that his comments may have caused him to lose the election in Washington's most competitive district.[11]


  1. ^ "State of Washington; Members of the Legislature, 1889-2009" (PDF). March 2009. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  2. ^ "John Koster, Former Washington House Candidate (R)". July 23, 2012. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  3. ^ "Snohomish County Unofficial Election Results : November 8, 2016 Presidential General Election". Retrieved January 18, 2017.
  4. ^ "Koster to be first-ever county ombudsman". December 20, 2013. Retrieved December 28, 2013.
  5. ^ "Representative John Koster to step down". Washington State Wire. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  6. ^ Baker, Mike (October 31, 2012). "GOP Hopeful: 'Rape Thing' Not Cause for Abortion". SeattlePi. Associated Press. Archived from the original on November 12, 2012. Retrieved November 18, 2012.
  7. ^ Kaminsky, Jonathan (November 9, 2012). "John Koster, GOP House Candidate Who Spoke Of 'The Rape Thing', Conceding House Race". Huffington Post. Reuters. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  8. ^ Collier, Myles (November 1, 2012). "John Koster 'Rape Thing' Comments Ignite Controversy". North America. The Christian Post. Retrieved November 21, 2012.
  9. ^ Howley, Kerry (November 1, 2012). "You're Pro-Life, I'm Pro-Life, We're All Pro-Life". Slate. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  10. ^ Heffter, Emily (October 31, 2012). "Koster Draws Fire Over Comments About Abortion, 'The Rape Thing'". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
  11. ^ Heffter, Emily. "DelBene Beats Koster in Race for U.S. HouseDems Hold State's Most Competitive District". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 21, 2012.