State House Republicans elect leadership team

Rep. Richard DeBolt again chosen as leader


State House Republicans elected their leadership team today — 17 days after an election that resulted in the group gaining six seats in the Washington State House of Representatives.

House Republicans again chose Rep. Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis, as their leader. He is responsible for overseeing the leadership team, setting legislative priorities, advancing ideas supported by the caucus, and working with the governor and other state government leaders.

DeBolt was quick to emphasize that House Republican priorities for the 2011 legislative session include creating jobs, protecting taxpayers by balancing the budget without raising taxes and holding state government accountable.

“Our priorities are creating jobs and strengthening the economy. We proposed a ‘Made in Washington’ jobs plan earlier this year and will continue to put forward solutions in the upcoming legislative session,” said DeBolt. “We also feel voters sent a clear message they want a fiscally-responsible budget that does not rely on tax increases. This is what House Republicans have fought for — and will continue to fight for. We must reset state government in ways that do not burden families and small employers.”

DeBolt said he is looking forward to representing and working with his fellow House Republicans and new freshmen group of state lawmakers.

“Each member of our caucus brings experience, knowledge and a passion for their communities,” said DeBolt. “I’m excited about our freshmen class. They have been listening to their constituents closely and are already bringing their ideas to the legislative process.”

The six seats House Republicans gained in the recent election are: J.T. Wilcox, 2nd District (Pos. 2); John Ahern, 6th District (Pos. 2); Paul Harris, 17th District (Pos. 2); Vincent Buys, 42nd District (Pos. 2); and Mark Hargrove, 47th District (Pos. 1). Hans Zeiger holds a 38-vote lead over Democratic Rep. Dawn Morrell in the 25th District (Pos. 2), which will result in an automatic recount as required by state law.

House Republicans successfully retained all of their four open seats left vacant by incumbents in the 18th District (Pos. 1), 30th District (Pos. 2), 31st District (Pos. 1), and 42nd District (Pos. 1) who ran for other offices. Each former House Republican went on to win his or her respective race.

House Republicans gained one seat in the 2008 general election and won a special election in the 16th District in November 2009.

The group is waiting for information from House Democrats on the House committee structure and cannot assign members to committees until the structure is finalized.

The 2011 legislative session begins Jan. 10 and is scheduled to run 105 consecutive days.

The remainder of the House Republican leadership team includes:

Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda | Deputy Leader
The deputy leader assists the leader in setting legislative priorities, organizing strategy and advocating for the adoption of bills supported by the caucus. It is the number two leadership position in the caucus.

Rep. Charles Ross, R-Naches | Floor Leader
The floor leader organizes and oversees caucus activity during House floor debate, and assists in setting legislative priorities for the caucus.

Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish | Caucus Chair
The caucus chair presides over daily caucus meetings when bills, amendments and voting are discussed, and assists in setting legislative priorities for the caucus.

Rep. Bill Hinkle, R-Cle Elum | Whip
The whip serves as sergeant at arms — maintaining decorum during caucus meetings and ensuring activities are carried out in an orderly fashion — and assists in setting legislative priorities for the caucus.

Rep. Kevin Parker, R-Spokane, and Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley | Assistant Floor Leaders
The assistant floor leaders help the floor leader organize and oversee caucus activity during House floor debate, and assist in setting legislative priorities for the caucus.

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Contact: John Handy, Deputy Communications Director – (360) 786-5758 (w) | (360) 349-2164 (c)


Washington State House Republican Communications