Senate Democrats announce their 2023 leadership
Senate Democrats announce their 2023 leadership

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

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.

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