30 11, 2017

Senate officially turns blue as Dhingra is sworn in

November 30th, 2017|Uncategorized|

SEATTLE – Manka Dhingra was sworn in Wednesday as the state senator for the 45th Legislative District. Dhingra’s swearing in gives Democrats a 25-24 majority in the Senate ahead of the 2018 Legislative Session.

“I’m humbled and proud to represent the communities of the 45th Legislative District,” Dhingra said. “I promise to represent each and every one of my constituents with integrity, honesty and a commitment to solving problems with my colleagues—regardless of their party affiliation. We have a lot of work ahead of us. I am confident that by working together we can make progress toward a better future for our district, our state and our country.”

A King County senior deputy prosecuting attorney and longtime advocate for women, children, and veterans, Dhingra is slated to serve as vice chair of the Senate Law & Justice and Human Services & Corrections committees in 2018.

15 11, 2017

Senate Democrats: Pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling, but hard work remains on school funding

November 15th, 2017|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – Democratic leads on K-12 Education on Wednesday reacted to the state Supreme Court’s latest order on the McCleary decision:

“We are very pleased that the Legislature and the Supreme Court are in strong agreement that the state has made significant progress on basic education policy, and that some important work remains,” said incoming chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Kitsap County. “Many lawmakers, myself included, have had conversations with our school districts since the 2017 session concluded. We know some steps need to be taken to ensure they have the flexibility and funding they need to provide students with the best education possible and in the fairest way for taxpayers. This order reiterates the need for these conversations to continue and intensify.”

“I am pleased that the Supreme Court has largely affirmed the work we have done to help students in Washington succeed,” said Senate Democratic Caucus Deputy Leader Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane. “We knew the plan needed to be further refined and will incorporate the court’s guidance in to our work to improve the state’s plan to fund basic education. I remain committed to working with my colleagues to uphold our constitutional obligation to fully fund our schools and help every child achieve their fullest potential.”

15 11, 2017

Senate Democrats choose Brad Hendrickson as Secretary of the Senate

November 15th, 2017|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – Brad Hendrickson, a veteran of the Legislature with more than 30 years of service to the state, was nominated unanimously this week by Senate Democrats to serve as the next Secretary of the Senate.

Hendrickson’s candidacy still must be approved by a majority of the Senate. A vote of the body will take place once the Senate reconvenes.

“I’m excited to return to my old home in the Senate and look forward to serving the institution I’ve dedicated my entire adult life to,” Hendrickson said.

Hendrickson, 57, first came to the Senate as an intern during his junior year of college in 1982. He returned the following year as a legislative liaison for Western Washington University. In 1985, Hendrickson served as a legislative aide in the House. Since then he’s held a variety of positions in areas such as systems and research analysis, as Deputy Staff Director for the Senate Democratic Caucus (SDC) and Director of Accounting and Human Services. He also served a total of 16 years as Deputy Secretary of the Senate beginning in 1993. Most recently, Hendrickson served as Director of Policy and Legislative Relations for the State Treasurer.

“We are so fortunate to have someone with Brad’s extensive legislative knowledge and experience fill this most important role,” said Senate Majority Leader Sharon Nelson. “Brad’s intimate understanding of the history, tradition and rules of the Senate make him a perfect fit. We are lucky to have him.”

Sarah Bannister will serve as Hendrickson’s Deputy. She began her legislative career in the House before joining the SDC in 2000. Bannister has served on the Secretary’s administrative staff since 2010.

14 11, 2017

Rolfes to chair Senate budget committee

November 14th, 2017|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Kitsap County, was chosen to chair the crucial Senate budget committee, Ways & Means, on Monday. This appointment follows the 2017 election results, which shifted control of the state Senate from Republicans to Democrats.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to serve as chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee,” Rolfes said. “The decisions we make in Olympia have very real impacts on the people of this state, particularly with regards to how their tax dollars are spent. As chair of Ways & Means, I will work every day to ensure the best interests of Washingtonians are at the heart of everything we do.”

In her new role, Rolfes will be the Senate’s chief budget writer and negotiator, set the committee’s agenda and lead her colleagues in determining what bills will move through the committee to be considered for a vote of the Senate.

Rolfes has served in leadership roles within the Senate Democratic caucus in recent years. She was a chief negotiator on education policy and funding during the critical 2017 legislative session and has served as one of two lead Democrats on the Senate Ways & Means Committee. Rolfes will also serve as vice chair of the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.

“Following some sweeping tax policy changes in the last legislative session, my aim is to make sure schools have the flexibility and funding they need, taxes are fair, businesses have the space to grow and workers across this state can thrive,” Rolfes added. “It is also critical we get our work done on time and in a transparent way.”

13 11, 2017

Democrats appoint committee chairmanships following switch of Senate control

November 13th, 2017|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – Democrats in the state Senate on Monday announced new committee structures, members and chairmanships following a switch in control of the Senate from Republican to a Democratic majority.

“We have a great, knowledgeable team ready to get to work for the people of this state,” Senate Leader Sharon Nelson said. “Our chairs and committee members are passionate about moving Washington households forward. They are also dedicated to good government and are firm in their belief that the committee process serves as a platform for people to interact and be heard by their representatives in Olympia.”

Committee chairs and vice chairs are listed below in alphabetical order. See the chart below for the complete list of committee members:

• Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks – Sen. Kevin Van De Wege (Chair); Sen. John McCoy (vice chair)
• Economic Development & Trade – Sen. Maralyn Chase (Chair); Sen. Dean Takko (vice chair)
• Early Learning & K12 Education – Sen. Lisa Wellman (Chair); Sen Christine Rolfes (vice chair)
• Energy, Environment & Technology – Sen. Reuven Carlyle (Chair); Sen. Guy Palumbo (vice chair)
• Financial Institutions & Insurance – Sen. Mark Mullet (Chair); Sen. Bob Hasegawa (vice chair)
• Health & Long Term Care – Sen. Annette Cleveland (Chair); Sen. Patty Kuderer (vice chair)
• Higher Education & Workforce Development – Sen. Kevin Ranker (Chair); Sen. Guy Palumbo (vice chair)
• Human Services & Corrections – Sen. Jeannie Darneille (Chair); Sen. Manka Dhingra (vice chair)
• Labor & Commerce – Sen. Karen Keiser (Chair); Sen. Bob Hasegawa (vice chair)
• Law & Justice – Sen. Jamie Pedersen (Chair); Sen. Manka Dhingra (vice chair)
• Local Government – Sen. Dean Takko (Chair); Sen. Guy Palumbo (vice chair)
• State Government, Tribal Relations & Elections – Sen. Sam Hunt (Chair); Sen. Patty Kuderer (vice chair)
• Transportation – Sen. Steve Hobbs (Chair); Sen. Rebecca Saldaña (vice chair)
• Ways & Means – Sen. Christine Rolfes (Chair); Sen. David Frockt (vice chair /Capital Budget lead)

13 11, 2017

Senate Democratic leadership posts switch from minority to majority

November 13th, 2017|Uncategorized|

OLYMPIA – Following the results of the 2017 election and a shift in the Washington State Senate from Republican to Democratic control, leadership within the Senate Democratic Caucus will continue mostly unchanged.

Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, will be Senate Majority Leader, having served as Minority Leader since 2014.

“We have a great team in place, one representative of Washington’s values and its diversity and one that cares deeply about the people of this state,” Nelson said. “Our entire caucus is ready to get back to work and is humbled by this opportunity.”

The Senate Democratic Leadership team is as follows:

• Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Vashon Island, Majority Leader
• Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, Deputy Majority Leader
• Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, Majority Caucus Chair
• Sen. Lisa Wellman, D-Mercer Island, Majority Vice Caucus Chair
• Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood, Majority Floor Leader
• Sen. Patty Kuderer, D-Bellevue, Assistant Majority Floor Leader
• Sen. Rebecca Saldaña, D-Seattle, Majority Whip
• Sen. Mark Mullet, D-Issaquah, Assistant Majority Whip
• Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, President Pro Tem
• Sen. Steve Conway, D-Tacoma, Vice President Pro Tem