2017 Legislature committees include new leadership changes

By Evan Smith

Committee assignments for the 2017 Washington State Legislature that convenes Monday include new leadership posts for three local legislators.

New 1st District State Sen. Guy Palumbo will be ranking minority Democratic member of the Senate Higher Education committee, new 1st District State Rep. Shelley Kloba will be vice chairwoman of the House committee on commerce and gaming, and second-term 21st Legislative District State Rep. Strom Peterson will become vice chairman of the House committee on the capital budget in addition to continuing as vice chairman of the House Environment Committee.

In addition to Palumbo’s position on the Higher Education Committee, he also will serve on the Senate committee on local government. Palumbo said Wednesday that he is ready to start work on both committees. He said he wanted to “better align our education system with job opportunities” and to help address the lack of space for technology programs at UW Bothell. On the Local Government Committee, he said he wants to work on population-growth policy.

In addition to Kloba’s position as vice chairwoman of the Commerce and Gaming Committee, she also will be a member of the Transportation Committee and the committee on technology and economic development. She said Thursday that the work of the Technology and Economic Development Committee and that of the Transportation Committee are interrelated and important to her district. She added that she hadn’t requested a place on the Commerce and Gaming Committee but that she saw it as a place to work on issues related to alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and gambling.

Palumbo and Kloba represent the 1st Legislative District including most of Mountlake Terrace, all of Brier and Bothell, north Kirkland, unincorporated areas of King County between Bothell and Kirkland, and unincorporated areas of Snohomish County north and east of Bothell including the Maltby area.

Democratic 1st District State Rep. Derek Stanford, who is starting his fourth two-year term, will join the Appropriations Committee and the Rules Committee, while continuing his work on the committee on agriculture and natural resources, and the committee on business and financial Services.

Democratic 21st District Rep. Peterson said in December that his work on the Capital Budget Committee would allow him to influence funds for housing, mental health and natural resources, along with the construction and maintenance of state facilities such as state parks and schools. He said that these projects help spur economic development and provide jobs. In addition, Peterson, a former Edmonds city councilman, will continue serving on the Local Government Committee.

The other 21st District representative, Democrat Lillian Ortiz-Self will continue to serve on the Education Committee, the Transportation Committee, and the committee on early learning and human services.

Democratic 21st District State Sen. Marco Liias will be Senate minority floor Leader in addition to being assistant ranking minority member of the Senate Transportation Committee and a member of the Rules Committee.

The 21st District includes most of Edmonds, unincorporated areas north of Edmonds and Lynnwood and northeast of Lynnwood, all of Mukilteo and part of south Everett.

Democratic 32nd District State Rep. Ruth Kagi continues as chairwoman of the House committee on early learning and human services and as a member of the Appropriations Committee. She will add a position on the Environment Committee.

The other 32nd District representative, Democrat Cindy Ryu will be vice chairwoman of the committee on community development, housing and tribal affairs and as a member of the Capital Budget Committee and the committee on commerce and gaming.

In the Republican-controlled Senate, Democratic 32nd District State Sen. Maralyn Chase will be ranking minority member of the committee on agriculture, water and rural economic development and a member of the Senate Rules Committee.

The 32nd District includes Lynnwood, Woodway and nearby unincorporated areas of southwest Snohomish County, parts of Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace, Shoreline and part of northwest Seattle.

— Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com.

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