Fresh of an outstanding midterm election cycle in which every frontline Democratic senator’s reelection was secured, the Washington State Senate Democrats today announced a set of leadership changes for the 2023 session along with the caucus’ complete committee assignments.
Andy Billig (D‑3rd District: Spokane) remains Majority Leader.
Emily Randall (D‑26th District: Kitsap Peninsula) will become Deputy Majority Leader, replacing Senator Rebecca Saldaña (D‑37th District: South Seattle), who will become the Vice Chair of the Caucus.
Manka Dhingra (D‑45th District: Redmond/East King County) remains the other Deputy Majority Leader and Chair of the Law & Justice Committee. Dhingra is a Northwest Progressive Foundation boardmember. Rising star T’wina Nobles (D‑28th District: Pierce County) is the new Majority Whip.
Bob Hasegawa (D‑11th District: Seattle and South King County) remains the Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus. Jamie Pedersen (D‑43rd District) remains Floor Leader. Other members of the 2023–2024 leadership team include Joe Nguyen (D‑34th District: West Seattle and Vashon Island) as Assistant Leader, Claire Wilson (D‑30th District: Federal Way and South King County) as Assistant Whip, Karen Keiser (D‑33rd District: South King County) as President Pro Tempore, and John Lovick (D‑44th District) as Vice President Pro Tempore.
“I’m honored to have been chosen by my colleagues to step into a greater leadership role,” Randall said. “Together, we’ve worked hard to put the needs of our neighbors first and expand access to opportunity for every Washingtonian. The thousands of conversations I’ve had with neighbors over the past many months have highlighted some of the work ahead. I’m excited to dig in alongside my colleagues in 2023, and I can’t wait to see what our dedicated and dynamic team accomplishes in the coming months and beyond — it’s time to get to work.”
“I am both humbled and enthusiastic to have been selected by my peers to serve in this position,” said Nobles. “From the start of my tenure in the Senate, I’ve stressed the importance of transparency in my office. I’ve valued so deeply the ability for community to be civically engaged and understand the nuances of the Legislature in order to make changes in the issues they care about. I’m elated to be able to further this charter in my new position.”
Several new senators were chosen to be vice chairs of key committees:
- Noel Frame (D‑36th District: Seattle) will be vice chair of Housing, working with Chair Patty Kuderer (D‑48th District: Bellevue). Frame will also be Vice Chair of Business, Financial Services, Gaming & Trade, working with Chair Derek Stanford (D‑1st District: Bothell and King / Snohomish Counties).
- Javier Valdez (D‑46th District: Seattle) will be Vice Chair of State Government, working with Chair Sam Hunt (D‑22nd District: Olympia).
- Claudia Kauffman (D‑47th District: South King County) will be Vice Chair of Human Services & Behavioral Health, working with Chair Claire Wilson.
- Sharon Shewmake (D‑42nd District: Whatcom County) will be one of two Vice Chairs of Transportation. John Lovick will be the other. Both of them will work with Chair Marko Liias (D‑21st District: Snohomish County).
Reuven Carlyle and David Frockt’s departures also opened up some spots on the powerful Ways & Means Committee, which writes the Senate’s budget.
Mark Mullet (D‑5th District: Issaquah and East King County) is the new Vice Chair for Capital Budget, serving with Chair Christine Rolfes (D‑23rd District: Kitsap Peninsula) and June Robinson (D‑38th District: Snohomish County), the Vice Chair for Operating & Revenue. Other Democratic committee members include Billig, Dhingra, Hasegawa, Hunt, Keiser, Nugyen, Pedersen, Saldana, Kevin Van De Wege (D‑24th District: Olympic Peninsula), Lisa Wellman (D‑41st District: Bellevue and East King County) and Steve Conway (D‑29th District: Pierce County).
The Eastside’s delegation to the State Senate — Dhingra, Kuderer, Wellman, Stanford, and Mullet — has become very influential and powerful. Four of them chair a committee: Dhingra has Law & Justice, Kuderer has Housing, Wellman has Early Learning & K‑12 Education, and Stanford has Business, Financial Services, Gaming & Trade. Meanwhile, Mullet has Capital Budget within Ways & Means.
Additionally, as mentioned, Dhingra and Wellman are on Ways & Means along with Mullet, while Kuderer is on the Senate Rules Committee, which has the power to pull bills to the floor of the Senate for consideration there.
The only Senate committee that will be chaired by a senator from a mostly-Seattle district is Environment, Energy & Technology, chaired by Nguyen.
The Senate Democratic caucus’ complete committee assignments are available in the PDF embedded below. The Senate Republicans have not yet announced their assignments. As mentioned, they will have one fewer member in their caucus in 2023–2024 due to Simon Sefzik’s loss to Sharon Shewmake in the 42nd District.2023 Senate Democratic caucus committee membership and leadership