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House Dems elect most of leadership team

Today, the Washington House Democratic Caucus held elections for many of its leadership positions. So far, the only position that will be changing hands before next session is that of Majority Floor Leader, a position that coordinates floor debate and bill passage during session.

Rep. Monica Stonier, who also serves as vice chair of the House Education Committee and chairs the Working Families Caucus and the Financial Education Public-Private Partnership, will take over the position, which was previously held by Rep. Gael Tarleton. Rep. Tarleton expressed her support for the incoming Floor Leader in a caucus press release.

“Monica is an excellent choice for floor leader,” Tarleton said in the release. “Having served in this role for the last three years, I understand the unique challenges she’ll be facing. Monica has the necessary poise and patience that are needed to do this job effectively.”

The rest of the majority’s leadership elected today were re-elected to their positions. The current line-up is as follows:

  • Speaker of the House (designate): Rep. Frank Chopp, D-Seattle
  • Majority Leader: Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington
  • Majority Caucus Chair: Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Seattle
  • Majority Floor Leader: Rep. Monica Stonier D-Vancouver
  • Majority Whip: Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane
  • Speaker Pro Tempore (designate): Rep. John Lovick, D-Mill Creek
  • Deputy Speaker Pro Tempore (designate): Rep. Tina Orwall, D-Des Moines

    (In its press release, the caucus explained that the term “designate” means the entire House will vote for the Speaker position once legislative session convenes in January.)

Perhaps the most dramatic development to come out of the leadership elections: Frank Chopp, who’s served as Speaker or co-Speaker since 1999, won’t be in his leadership position for much longer. In a press release, he announced his decision to step down following the 2019 legislative session.

“Now, I’ve decided it’s time to step aside so that I can focus more energy on the issues that matter most and are priorities for the caucus,” his release reads. “I plan to serve as Speaker through the 2019 session to provide an orderly leadership transition, but remain in the Legislature as a representative of the 43rd Legislative District. It’s been an honor to serve as the state’s Speaker and to work with so many dedicated legislators on both sides of the aisle.”

Still to-be-elected positions include Deputy Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Whip, Majority Caucus Vice Chair, and the two Assistant Majority Whip positions. Those elections, the caucus said in a Facebook post, “will be held in the near future.”