Senator Brian Hatfield, D-19th District
Senator Brian Hatfield, D-19th District

For the sec­ond time in as many days, a Demo­c­ra­t­ic law­mak­er has decid­ed to move on from the Leg­is­la­ture and take a job offer­ing bet­ter com­pen­sa­tion and ben­e­fits in Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s admin­is­tra­tion. Yes­ter­day, it was State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ross Hunter (D‑48th Dis­trict); today it’s Sen­a­tor Bri­an Hat­field (D‑19th Dis­trict: Aberdeen, Long Beach Ray­mond, Longview).

Hat­field, who has been a state sen­a­tor since 2006, will be going to work for Gov­er­nor Inslee as sec­tor lead for rur­al eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment. It’s an issue that he has been con­tin­u­ous­ly focused on dur­ing his career as a state lawmaker.

““It’s tru­ly been a priv­i­lege to serve the peo­ple of the 19th dis­trict and it’s with a heavy heart that I leave this office,” Hat­field said a state­ment released by the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic Cau­cus on Tues­day afternoon.

“But I will con­tin­ue to serve the state in a new role and I’m excit­ed to con­tin­ue my work in rur­al eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment for Washington.”

“I’m proud of my work to bring jobs and eco­nom­ic oppor­tu­ni­ty to my part of the state and oth­er rur­al areas that are too often over­looked,” he went on to say. “Our state is large and diverse, and I tried to focus on a bal­anced approach that looked out for all Wash­ing­to­ni­ans no mat­ter where in the state they lived.”

The 19th is one of the few rur­al leg­isla­tive dis­tricts in Wash­ing­ton rep­re­sent­ed exclu­sive­ly by Democ­rats. The oth­er mem­bers of the del­e­ga­tion are Demo­c­ra­t­ic State Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dean Takko and Bri­an Blake.

From what we’ve heard, Takko is plan­ning to seek appoint­ment to the Sen­ate to take Hat­field­’s spot. Sen­ate Democ­rats will no doubt be pleased by this decision.

If such a suc­ces­sion occurs, it would result in a sec­ond vacan­cy, this time on the House side. Both vacan­cies would be filled in a spe­cial elec­tion held con­cur­rent­ly with next year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in August and Novem­ber 2016, when all three of the dis­tric­t’s seats would ordi­nar­i­ly be up anyway.

Word of Hat­field­’s plans has been cir­cu­lat­ing for some time now, and sev­er­al indi­vid­u­als are said to be inter­est­ed in the open seat that will be cre­at­ed by Takko’s res­ig­na­tion from the House. As the Chi­nook Observ­er reports:

Noth­ing has been con­firmed yet, but many polit­i­cal insid­ers have spec­u­lat­ed that State Rep. Dean Takko will move into Hatfield’s spot. Sev­er­al locals are report­ed­ly vying to fill Takko’s vacan­cy, includ­ing Ros­set­ti, busi­ness­woman Tiffany Turn­er, coun­ty com­mis­sion­er Lisa Ayers, and local his­to­ri­an Jim Sayce.

The 19th is a mul­ti-coun­ty leg­isla­tive dis­trict, so the con­sti­tu­tion­al respon­si­bil­i­ty of select­ing nom­i­nees to fill the vacan­cy will fall to the statu­to­ry Wash­ing­ton State Demo­c­ra­t­ic Cen­tral Com­mit­tee (WSDCC), which con­sists of thir­ty-nine men and thir­ty-nine women, one each from the state’s coun­ties. How­ev­er, the statu­to­ry WSDCC will turn to the Demo­c­ra­t­ic precinct com­mit­tee offi­cers of the 19th to do the actu­al select­ing of names for each vacan­cy. State Par­ty Chair Jax­on Ravens will soon call a spe­cial nom­i­nat­ing cau­cus of PCOs for this purpose.

At the cau­cus, the PCOs will choose three names to send to the coun­ty com­mis­sion­ers of Pacif­ic, Wahki­akum, Cowlitz, Lewis, and Grays Har­bor coun­ties, who will have six­ty days to make a joint appoint­ment. One of the names will almost cer­tain­ly be Takko’s. The oth­er two names will prob­a­bly be Demo­c­ra­t­ic activists who have no inten­tion of serv­ing in the Legislature.

For the House vacan­cy, three names will also be cho­sen. The PCOs’ top choice to fill the open seat will be list­ed first, fol­lowed by the PCOs’ sec­ond and third choice.

The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty gen­er­al­ly asks that the coun­ty leg­isla­tive author­i­ties respect the wish­es of the PCOs and appoint the first-ranked nom­i­nee; how­ev­er, the coun­ty com­mis­sion­ers are free to choose any of the three names, as the Con­sti­tu­tion gives them the author­i­ty to make a joint appointment.

After the cau­cus is com­plete, the statu­to­ry WSDCC will tele­con­fer­ence and rat­i­fy all the names cho­sen in the cau­cus. These will then be trans­mit­ted to the coun­ty com­mis­sion­ers. If the com­mis­sion­ers can­not agree with­in six­ty days on who to appoint, the author­i­ty to make an appoint­ment will pass to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

Adjacent posts

2 replies on “Brian Hatfield leaving Washington State Senate to take job with Inslee administration”

  1. More leg­isla­tive turnover. Well, it’s not like they’re paid very much… I imag­ine there’s lit­tle sym­pa­thy for our leg­is­la­tors, but if we don’t pay them very much, how can we expect qual­i­ty can­di­dates to seek the job and stay for a while? The attrac­tive­ness of a job in the pri­vate sec­tor is based in part on what it pays. The pub­lic sec­tor is dif­fer­ent in many ways, but if we’re going to pay top dol­lar for high-tier foot­ball coach­es, why don’t we pay more for good legislators? 

Comments are closed.