After a stellar mid-election cycle that secured re-election for all frontline Democratic senators, Washington state Senate Democrats today announced a series of leadership changes for the 2023 session, as well as full caucus committee assignments.
Andy Billig (D‑3rd District: Spokane) remains majority leader.
Emily Randall (D-26th District: Kitsap Peninsula) becomes Deputy Majority Leader, replacing Senator Rebecca Saldaña (D-37th District: South Seattle), who becomes Vice Chair of the Caucus.
Manka Dhingra (D‑45th District: Redmond/East King County) remains the other Deputy Majority Leader and Chair of the Law & Justice Committee. Dhingra is a board member of the Northwest Progressive Foundation. Rising star T’wina Nobles (D‑28th District: Pierce County) is the new Majority Whip.
Bob Hasegawa (D-11th Circuit: Seattle and South King County) remains the chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus. Jamie Pedersen (D-43rd District) remains floor leader. Additional members of the 2023-2024 leadership team include Joe Nguyen (D-34th District: West Seattle and Vashon Island) as Assistant Leader, Claire Wilson (D-30th District: Federal Way and South King County) as Assistant Whip, Karen Keizer ( D-33rd Circuit: South King County) as President Pro Tempore and John Lovick (D-44th Circuit) as Vice President Pro Tempore.
“I’m honored to have been selected by my peers to take on a greater leadership role,” said Randall. “Together, we have worked hard to put the needs of our neighbors first and expand access to opportunities for every resident of Washington. The thousands of conversations I’ve had with neighbors over the past few months have highlighted some of the work ahead. I look forward to phasing in alongside my colleagues in 2023 and I can’t wait to see what our dedicated and dynamic team achieves over the coming months and beyond – it’s time to get to work.”
“I am both humbled and thrilled to have been selected by my peers for this position,” said Nobles. “From the beginning of my tenure in the Senate, I have emphasized the importance of transparency in my office. I have appreciated so much the community’s ability to engage civicly and understand the nuances of legislation to make changes on the issues that matter to them. I am pleased to be able to continue to advance this charter in my new position.”
Several new senators were elected vice chairs of key committees:
- Noel Frame (D-36: Seattle) will serve as vice president of the housing division, working with Chair Patty Kuderer (D-48: Bellevue). Frame will also be Vice Chair of Business, Financial Services, Gaming & Trade, working with Chairman Derek Stanford (D-1st District: Bothell and King / Snohomish Counties).
- Javier Valdez (D-46th Ward: Seattle) will become vice chairman of the state government, working alongside Chairman Sam Hunt (D-22nd Ward: Olympia).
- Claudia Kauffman (D-47th District: South King County) will be the vice chair for Human Services & Behavioral Health, working with chair Claire Wilson.
- Sharon Shewmake (D-42nd Ward: Whatcom County) will be one of two vice presidents for transportation. John Lovick will be the other. Both will work with Chairman Marko Liias (D‑21st District: Snohomish County).
The departures of Reuven Carlyle and David Frockt also opened some positions on the powerful Ways & Means Committee, which writes the Senate budget.
Mark Mullet (D-5th District: Issaquah and East King County) is the new vice-chairman for Capital Budget, serving with Chairmen Christine Rolfes (D-23rd District: Kitsap Peninsula) and June Robinson (D-38. District: Snohomish County). the vice chairman for operations and revenue. Other members of the Democratic Committee are Billig, Dhingra, Hasegawa, Hunt, Keizer, Nugyen, Pedersen, Saldana, Kevin Van De Wege (D-24th District: Olympic Peninsula), Lisa Wellman (D-41st District: Bellevue and East King County) and Steve Conway (D-29th Prefecture: Pierce County).
The Eastside delegation in the State Senate – Dhingra, Kuderer, Wellman, Stanford and Mullet – has become very influential and powerful. Four of them chair a committee: Dhingra has Law & Justice, Kuderer has Housing, Wellman has Early Learning & K-12 Education, and Stanford has Business, Financial Services, Gaming & Trade. Meanwhile, Mullet has the capital budget under Ways & Means.
Additionally, as previously mentioned, Dhingra and Wellman are on Ways & Means along with Mullet, while Kuderer sits on the Senate committee, which has the power to drag bills into the Senate for consideration.
The only Senate committee chaired by a senator from a predominantly Seattle-held district is Environment, Energy & Technology, chaired by Nguyen.
The full Democratic Group Senate Committee Responsibilities are available in the PDF embedded below. Senate Republicans have yet to announce their jobs. As previously mentioned, they will have one less member in their caucus in 2023–2024 due to Simon Sefzik’s loss to Sharon Shewmake in the 42nd Precinct.
2023 Membership and leadership of the Senate Democratic Caucus Committee