Rodney Tom, Majority Coalition Caucus Leader
Tom serves as Majority Leader of the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, a bipartisan group of state lawmakers who believe in budget sustainability, creating an economic environment where jobs are plentiful and small businesses thrive, providing a world-class education system through reforms and enhancements, governing collaboratively to protect our most vulnerable while prioritizing the needs of middle-class Washingtonians, and setting priorities for state government and holding it accountable.
Tim Sheldon, Senate President Pro Tempore
Senator Tim Sheldon is a 35th District native. He served seven years in the House of Representatives – including two years as deputy majority leader – before being elected to the Senate in 1997. He has authored major job-training, infrastructure, job-creation and sex-offender community notification legislation, and is committed to all his constituents regardless of political affiliation. Sheldon was elected by the Senate to serve as president pro tempore, meaning he will preside over the Senate chamber when the Senate president – is not available.
Sharon Brown, Senate Vice President Pro Tempore
As a former city councilwoman and mayor pro tem for the City of Kennewick, I have a keen understanding of governmental issues both at the state and local level. It is my goal to bring a fresh set of eyes to the problems we face in Olympia.
Sen. Jan Angel is serving her first term in the Senate after serving five years in the House of Representatives. She represents the 26th District and serves on the Health Care, Transportation, Trade & Economic Development Committees. Jan has a diverse business background with 40 years of combined experience in banking, insurance, and real estate. She also served as Kitsap Co. commissioner from 2000-2008 and owned a local business for 9 years, which employed 54 Pierce and Kitsap county residents.
As much as we have to be proud of and look forward to, we know our communities face challenges. This requires us to work together to pass legislation that create jobs in these tough times, improve our local ferry runs, strengthen our public schools, and lower health care costs. The solutions to our challenges must take into account our state operating budget. We need long-term solutions that reset, reform and reshape state government to enable a sustainable budget.
In his first year in office, Michael reached across the aisle to help write a bi-partisan budget and sponsored major legislation that was signed into law concerning regulatory reform to reduce costs for small business and a major reform to consolidate government agencies and allow for more contracting-out of non-essential government information technology services. In his second year in the Senate, Michael joined with a bipartisan group of Senators to fight for a series of key reforms.
Following the emergence of the bipartisan “Majority Coalition Caucus” in the Senate, Becker was chosen by her peers to chair the Senate Health Care Committee. She considers it an honor to lead this important committee, and is committed to working in a collaborative way with legislators from both sides of the aisle. She will also be serving on the Senate Ways & Means, Higher Education and Rules Committees.
Senator Don Benton has dedicated his legislative career to protecting property rights, reducing property taxes and putting criminals behind bars. Among his achievements is a prominent role in restoring the cap on property tax collections created by voters through Initiative 747. After the state Supreme Court invalidated the law on a technicality, in late 2007, Don successfully advocated for a special one-day session of the Legislature which resulted in the limit being put back into law.
John is president of Braun Northwest, a family-owned company that has done business since 1986. The firm, which specializes in building emergency vehicles, employs more than 150 workers. Prior to his business career John served on active duty in the U.S. Navy; he continues to serve as a commander in the Naval Reserve. He holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from UW and master’s degrees in business administration and manufacturing engineering from the University of Michigan.
Sen. Dansel is a life-long resident of the 7th District, an area that embodies the tenacity and economic diversity of Eastern Washington. As a County Commissioner Dansel was a proud supporter of private property rights and worked to reform the Growth Management Act. As a father and community leader, he understands how important rural schools are and has been an advocate for college-focused as well as vocational education. Dansel hopes to further reform the Growth Management Act, reduce overbearing regulations on the 7th Districts natural resource based industries, support school districts and a State budget that is fiscally sustainable.
Bruce is focused on finding long-term, sustainable solutions to strengthen our state for future generations. If state lawmakers can ease the regulatory burden on employers, they can help to preserve and create jobs. By strengthening our economy, our state will have more resources for the priorities such as education and public safety. As our state continues to address operating budget challenges, it’s vital that the Legislature bring spending in line with revenue.
Born and raised in Whatcom County, Doug Ericksen has been bringing hometown values and solutions to Olympia since 1998. After serving six terms in the House, he was elected to the Senate in 2010. Senator Ericksen represents the 42nd District and co-chairs the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee. Sen. Ericksen also serves on the Health Care, Transportation and Rules Committees. His legislative priorities include providing solutions to keep energy prices low, create jobs and enhance our quality of life.
Fain has quickly become a leader on transportation and education. He serves on the transportation budget-writing team and the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee. Fain has been widely recognized for his efforts on a variety of issues, most recently by the ARC of King County’s Parent Coalition, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and the Kent Chamber of Commerce.
Senator Hewitt’s experience as a small business owner for 23 years serves as an excellent foundation for his work on business and economic development issues. Senator Hewitt is a former chairman of the Walla Walla Planning Commission and has received the Association of Washington Business’s “Cornerstone” award and the Washington Association of Small Business Incubators’ Small Business Advocate of the Year award. He also has a passion for veterans’ issues and works closely with the Hispanic Community.
Hill is a long-time Redmond resident from the 45th Legislative District. He was elected to the Senate in 2010. A former Microsoft manager, Hill was a local PTA president and spent countless hours in the classroom tutoring and mentoring students in math and science. He graduated cum laude with high honors from Colgate University where he studied physics, math and computer science and later earned a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University.
Janéa’s emphasis remains on improving the business climate, promoting quality education, ensuring access to quality and affordable health care, decreasing crime, promoting job development, protecting property and water rights, promoting alternative energy and requiring fiscal accountability. Janéa is a strong advocate for employers and their workers, and is a recipient of NFIB’s Guardian of Small Business Award, the Association of General Contractors Legislator of the Year award, and the Business Institute of Washington’s Business Star Award.
There will be many difficult budget decisions to make in upcoming sessions. At the same time, the budget situation should not overshadow our state’s single largest need: jobs. I’ve said it before, and it is well worth repeating: There is much the Legislature can and should do to encourage job growth, because jobs are not only good for families, they’re the best remedy for our state’s budget trouble.
I serve as the Co-Chair of the Senate Transportation committee. It’s important to me that we ensure our agricultural and forest interests have open and efficient access to markets on the west side of the state. I’m also on the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee. One of my top priorities is improving Washington’s business climate to encourage new businesses to develop and existing businesses to flourish.
Sen. Steve Litzow is a long-time resident of Mercer Island, where he was twice elected to the city council before being chosen in 2010 to represent Washington’s 41st Legislative District in the state Senate. Litzow, an education-policy leader whose accomplishments included spearheading the Senate’s passage of new teacher-evaluation standards, serves as chairman of the Senate Early Learning and K-12 Education Committee.
Steve’s focus in the Senate is on maintaining a strong education system that supports great teachers and promotes innovative learning, ensuring a vibrant private-sector job market to strengthen our economy, addressing our transportation system – particularly major choke points, and updating public safety laws to better protect citizens.
Senator Padden was first elected to the state Legislature in 1980 and served as a citizen legislator for more than 14 years. During that time his many leadership roles included House Majority Floor Leader and Chairman of the Law and Justice Committee. Padden has earned the reputation of standing strong on principle – no higher taxes, smaller government, and defender of life. He is equally well-known for having a strong willingness to engage in the legislative process and has proven successful in forging coalitions, even when in the minority.
Senator Parlette was selected by her peers in 2006 to be the Senate Republican Caucus Chair, the number two leadership role in the caucus, and has remained so ever since. She brings to her job as a state legislator real-life experience in many areas, including as a pharmacist and orchardist. Her experience as a pharmacist serves as a foundation for her work on health care issues, and her work as an orchardist helped her understand first-hand the importance of agriculture in Washington, as well as the needs of small businesses owners.
I am proud to represent the good citizens in one of the most beautiful areas of the state and the country. My priorities remain focused on the safety and prosperity of our communities. I have been dedicated to working on ways the Legislature can better serve employers through less regulations and tax certainty so they can do what they do best – create good-paying jobs. The only way we will solve our budget challenges is by getting people back to work.
My legislative priorities reflect what people across the 18th Legislative District have asked me to do: work to strengthen our economy, protect taxpayers by prioritizing state spending, offer every child an opportunity to succeed scholastically, and make sure vital transportation projects are moving forward. While this is the set of priorities and values I carry to Olympia, I’m always open to new ideas and am willing to work with anyone to solve the problems facing our communities.
Since being first elected to the state Senate in 1990, I have focused my time and energy on several important issues, most notably public safety and elections. I have prime-sponsored numerous pieces of legislation to encourage government accountability, and the protection of ballots and other important election materials. I also have worked to control property taxes, build public parks, keep sex predators out of neighborhoods, and crack down on meth crime.
I am committed to providing Ninth District residents with accessible, responsible representation, and making sure the generations which follow ours – like our two children and new grandson – have opportunities to prosper which are at least equal to what we have enjoyed. That means working for fiscal stability, through sustainable budgeting and reasonable taxation, and sensible policies. My particular interests as a lawmaker are, not surprisingly, agriculture and our state budget.