Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Assistant Attorney General Tsering Cornell to replace Clark County Superior Court Judge Scott Collier, who is retiring June 30.
She will join the court beginning July 1.
Cornell has worked for the attorney general’s Vancouver office since 2018, representing the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, as well as Clark College, Lower Columbia College and the Center for Childhood Deafness and Hearing Loss/School for the Deaf. Before that, she worked for the attorney general and secretary of state in Olympia.
She said she was humbled to be selected from the pool of five applicants.
“This is an opportunity I know comes with great responsibility and responsibility that I don’t take lightly, and I just want to assure the people of Clark County this is my community. This is my home,” Cornell said. “I’m forever indebted to being a daughter of Clark County, and I’m really thrilled and honored for the opportunity to give back in this way.”
Cornell, 40, grew up in Clark County and is a board member of the Clark County Volunteer Lawyers Program. She also volunteers with the Clark County Food Bank and YMCA youth mock trial program. She has been a member of the Northwest Tibetan Cultural Association since 2000.
She said she’s looking forward to bringing her legal experience and her life experiences to the bench.
“I’m the child of immigrants, via refugee camps. My parents are from Tibet. They had to flee their original country, make new lives for themselves in India, and then eventually came to the U.S. and afforded myself and my sister amazing opportunities,” She said. “And we’re very grateful to Clark County, because this is where they settled and where I was able to get such a great foundational education and upbringing.”
She earned her bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College and her masters from Alliant International University. She received her law degree from the University of California’s Hasting College of the Law.
In the Clark County Bar Association’s poll of the candidates for the seat, 10 percent of respondents chose Cornell as their pick.
Cornell will need to file for candidacy in May 2023. Depending on the number of candidates, they would either appear on the primary ballot, go directly to the general election or, if no one else runs, be deemed elected for the two-year unexpired term.
Superior Court judges currently make $16,340 per month but that will increase to $16,931 per month effective July 1, according to the county website.