Washington State Legislative & Elections Update – June 15, 2023

Staffing Changes in Governor Inslee’s Office

As of June 1, former Representative Pat Sullivan has replaced Drew Shirk as Executive Director of Legislative Affairs. After his long career in the legislature representing the 47th legislative district, Sullivan served as Governor Inslee’s senior policy advisor for labor issues.

Rob Duff, formerly of the Department of Commerce, has joined the governor’s office as the Executive Director of Policy and Outreach, replacing Nick Streuli. Duff’s background also includes five years as senior policy advisor for natural resources and the environment, as well as time at the Departments of Ecology and Health.

Sen. Christine Rolfes (D-23) to join Kitsap County Commissioners, vacate seat

On June 5, Kitsap County Commissioners appointed Senator Christine Rolfes (D-23) to the open seat on the Kitsap Board of Commissioners. Rolfes, chair of the powerful Ways & Means committee, has represented the 23rd legislative district since her election to the House of Representatives in 2006. Rolfes has indicated she will not hold both the county and state seat. Rep. Drew Hansen (D-23) has announced he will seek appointment to the Senate seat.

Mark Mullet for Governor (D)

In a long-anticipated move, Senator Mark Mullet (D-5) formally announced his candidacy for governor on June 1. A moderate Democrat who has in past elections drawn the opposition of organized labor, Mullet represents the 5th Legislative District communities of Black Diamond, Issaquah, Maple Valley, North Bend, Renton, Sammamish, and Snoqualmie.

First elected to the Senate in 2012, he is currently the Vice Chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee, where he serves as the leader of the Senate’s capital budget team. Additionally, Mullet serves on the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee and the Senate Business, Financial Services, Gaming & Trade Committee.

Mullet owns several small businesses, including a Zeeks Pizza restaurant and four Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream shops. From 2009 to 2013 he served on the Issaquah City Council. Before that, Mullet worked for more than twelve years in International Finance at Bank of America.

Mullet’s Senate seat is up in 2024. He joins frontrunners Bob Ferguson (D), Hilary Franz (D, Semi Bird (R), and Raul Garcia (R).

House Republican Committee Membership Changes

  • Appropriations – remove Stokesbary as Ranking and appoint Corry as Ranking; Connors, Couture, Chambers Assistant Ranking
  • Capital Budget – remove Steele as Ranking and appoint Abbarno as Ranking; Steele & McClintock as Assistant Ranking
  • Consumer Protection & Business – remove Corry as Ranking and appoint Robertson as Ranking, McClintock as Assistant Ranking
  • State Government & Tribal Affairs – Remove Abbarno, add Cheney and appoint as Ranking member
  • Labor & Workplace Standards – remove Robertson, appoint Schmidt as Ranking member

Committee Assignment Changes

  • Remove Stokesbary from Finance & appoint Wilcox
  • Remove Steele from Appropriations & appoint Wilcox
  • Remove Robertson from Labor & appoint Wilcox
  • Remove Wilcox & Kretz from Rules & appoint Stokesbary & Steele
  • Remove Barnard from Health Care & appoint Caldier
  • Remove Walsh from Regulated Substances & Gaming & appoint Caldier
  • Remove Corry from Innovation, community…. and appoint Caldier
  • Remove Couture from Capital Budget and appoint Kretz
  • Remove Connors from Labor & appoint Abbarno
  • Remove Cheney from CP&B & appoint Robertson
  • Remove Abbarno from State Government & appoint Cheney

Brynn Brady
Ceiba Consulting, Inc. | 253.686.3387 | ceibaconsulting.com