NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, November 12th, 2018

Washington State Senate Democrats select Andy Billig as their new Majority Leader

Wash­ing­ton State’s new­ly expand­ed Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus has a new leader.

Andy Bil­lig of Spokane — who rep­re­sents the 3rd Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict and is the cham­ber’s sole Demo­c­rat hail­ing from east of the Cas­cades — has been select­ed by his col­leagues to be the new Major­i­ty Leader, suc­ceed­ing Sharon Nel­son (D‑34th Dis­trict). Nel­son is retir­ing from the Leg­is­la­ture after many years of service.

“I’m extreme­ly eager to build on the suc­cess we had in 2018,” said Bil­lig in a state­ment released by the cau­cus. “I am hum­bled to lead this diverse and tal­ent­ed group of sen­a­tors. This cau­cus rec­og­nizes that bipar­ti­san­ship and view­points from every cor­ner of Wash­ing­ton are cru­cial in mov­ing our state forward.”

“We wel­come new mem­bers whose ener­gy and pas­sion will help Sen­ate Democ­rats con­tin­ue to put peo­ple first and tack­le the issues Wash­ing­to­ni­ans care about most – afford­able health care, tax fair­ness, pub­lic edu­ca­tion, men­tal health, pub­lic safe­ty from gun vio­lence, cli­mate change, and more.”

Bil­lig’s pre­de­ces­sor Lisa Brown also served as Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader pri­or to her retire­ment in 2012. Brown recent­ly ran for Con­gress in Wash­ing­ton’s 5th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict, gal­va­niz­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty in East­ern Wash­ing­ton and giv­ing entrenched Repub­li­can Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers her first cred­i­ble challenge.

Bil­lig joined the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate in 2013 after vot­ers in the 3rd chose him to take over for Brown. He had pre­vi­ous­ly served a sin­gle term in the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. He has been a part of Sen­ate lead­er­ship for sev­er­al years and served as the Deputy Major­i­ty Leader pri­or to his ele­va­tion to the top post today.

Bil­lig has cham­pi­oned trans­paren­cy and open gov­ern­ment dur­ing his time in the Leg­is­la­ture, spon­sor­ing bills to expose dark mon­ey (like the DISCLOSE Act, approved ear­li­er this year) and improve Wash­ing­ton’s pub­lic dis­clo­sure laws.

Nel­son praised Bil­lig’s selec­tion, express­ing her con­fi­dence in his abilities.

“Dur­ing his eight years at the Leg­is­la­ture, Andy has shown time and time again his com­pas­sion and com­mit­ment to Wash­ing­to­ni­ans,” Nel­son said.

“He has served as the Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic Cau­cus Deputy Leader since 2015, and has the lead­er­ship skills and the dri­ve to move our cau­cus forward.”

“Andy has proven his com­mit­ment to pro­gres­sive val­ues through his work on edu­ca­tion, cam­paign trans­paren­cy and water qual­i­ty. I am leav­ing the Sen­ate in good hands with a major­i­ty leader who will tru­ly put peo­ple first.”

NPI con­grat­u­lates Andy Bil­lig on his new respon­si­bil­i­ties. We look for­ward to work­ing with him and the Wash­ing­ton State Sen­ate to reform our tax code and expand edu­ca­tion fund­ing for our K‑12 schools, col­leges, and universities.

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