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.