Governor appoints Burke as Okanogan County Superior Court judge

Gov. Inslee announced the appointment of Kathryn Burke to the Okanogan County Superior Court bench.

Kathryn Burke

Kathryn Burke

OLYMPIA – Gov. Jay Inslee announced the appointment of Kathryn I. Burke to the Okanogan County Superior Court. She will replace Judge Henry A. Rawson, who will retire from the bench Dec. 31, 2023.

Currently, Burke serves as the elected prosecuting attorney for Ferry County, a position she has held since being appointed in September 2015. In this role, Burke also acts as civil counsel to other elected officials, providing advice and representation on civil legal issues that impact the county.

“Kathryn Burke is well prepared to return home and serve the Okanogan community in this role,” said Inslee. “I’m pleased that she will bring her work ethic, compassion and skills to the Okanogan County Superior Court bench.”

During her career, she has served the public as both a criminal prosecuting attorney as well as a criminal defense attorney. She has been recognized for her outstanding service to victims of crime and was a founding member of the Ferry County Therapeutic Court. In addition, Burke has experience handling juvenile and family law matters, including dependencies, at-risk youth, paternity and child support issues.

Burke was born in Tonasket and raised in Okanogan County and began her legal career there serving as a public defender. As a current member of the Washington State Bar Association’s Small Town and Rural Practice Committee, she works collaboratively with others to strengthen and support the practice of law in Washington’s rural communities.

“I’m excited, it’s quite an honor getting appointed by the governor. It was an intensive application process,” said Burke, who began the process last August and heard about her selection at the end of November.

“The application was 15 to 20 pages long. There’s that part and the part where you meet with the different bar association members and interview with the governor. All in all, it was about four months,” said the new judge.

She says she is excited to come home to Okanogan County, where she spent her early childhood in Tonasket. She moved with her family to the Omak-Okanogan area when she was in junior high going and graduated from Okanogan High School.

“I’ve had a lot of support in my current office in Ferry County and thankfully a lot of support from Okanogan County as well,” she said.

Burke earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington. She earned her law degree from Seattle University School of Law.

Rawson, who will turn 75, is retiring because of a state law that requires Superior Court Judges to retire when they reach that age.