Control of the Washington State Senate officially passed into Democratic hands for the first time in five years this afternoon as Senior Deputy Prosecutor Manka Dhingra was sworn in as the state’s newest senator, succeeding Republican Dino Rossi, who was appointed to take the place of the late Andy Hill a year ago.
At a ceremony in the King County Courthouse, surrounded by friends, family, and jubilant supporters, Dhingra took the oath of office and now begins her duties as the newest legislator from Washington’s 45th Legislative District.
“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.”
The 45th is a suburban, increasingly Democratic district that includes neighborhoods in Redmond, Kirkland, and Sammamish as well as the cities of Woodinville and Duvall. The fast-growing district has been represented in the state House of Representatives by widely respected Democrats Roger Goodman and Larry Springer for more than a decade. Now it has a Democratic state senator too.
Dhingra is the second Democrat to represent the district in the Washington State Senate, following Eric Oemig, who served from 2007 to 2011. The term she was just elected to will end on January 14th, 2019, but she will have opportunity to win a full four year term next year during the 2018 midterms.
Washington’s Legislature failed to pass a capital budget during the 2017 regular and ensuing first three special sessions, so participating in the completion of that unfinished business is likely to be one of Dhingra’s first tasks as a legislator.
Governor Jay Inslee has the option of calling a special session in December to pass the capital budget, but Republicans would need to provide enough votes to authorize the bonds that are necessary to implement much of the budget as written. A three-fifths vote of the Legislature is needed to authorize the bonds.