Without dissent, the Senate Higher Education Committee recommended confirming Bolerjack, who was appointed to the Board of Trustees in November by former Gov. Chris Gregoire.
The Senate panel voted following a brief hearing in which the former journalist discussed his background and answered questions on community college programs. His confirmation now goes to the full Senate for final action.
Bolerjack left The Herald in June and now works for the Snohomish County Public Utility District. He told senators that in his 25-year career with The Herald, he kept his distance from actively engaging with organizations and serving on boards.
"Now that I don't have that restriction, I want to get involved in my community," he said.
Also today, the panel approved the confirmation of four other Gregoire appointees: Darrell S. Mitsunaga of Lake Washington Technical College, Lisa Chin of Bellevue College, Stephen Vincent of Lower Columbia College and Anna Franz of Big Bend Community College.
Today's hearings, like ones held last week, are a departure from recent practices of the committee.
In 2012, gubernatorial appointees did not appear in front of the committee before getting confirmed by the Senate. In protest, two committee members, Sen. Michael Baumgartner, R-Spokane, and Sen. Val Stevens, R-Arlington, who is now retired, voted against confirming appointees to posts in higher education.
"There are people serving as trustees who were appointed but did not go through the Senate confirmation process," Sen. Barbara Bailey, R-Oak Harbor, who is the committee chairwoman, said last week. "It's not clear why this tradition was set aside for several years – maybe it was a concern about the time commitment – but I'm bringing it back."
"Although these hearings take time away from other things our committee could do, I see it as an honor, if not a duty, to meet the visionaries chosen to serve as leaders of our colleges, and have the opportunity to be the first step in confirming their appointments," she said.
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