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State House musical chairs benefit Jeannie Darneille, Larry Seaquist, Steve Kirby

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Dec. 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm |
December 21, 2010 5:04 pm

Rep. Jeannie Darneille lost out to Rep. Ross Hunter for the powerful post of budget chairman, but Darneille is still moving up. She will be one of two vice-chairs to Hunter.

In the reconfigured House committee structure approved by Democrats and unveiled today, Darneille, D-Tacoma, will take point on the spending side of the budget while Rep. Bob Hasegawa, D-Seattle fills the same role for taxes. She will be vice chair for appropriations; he will be vice chair for finance.

Previously, the two were split into different committees with Hunter chairing Finance and Rep. Kelli Linville, who was defeated for re-election, heading Ways and Means. Now Hunter, D-Medina, will take the helm on the whole budget process.

Another Pierce County lawmaker is getting a gavel. Rep. Larry Seaquist, D-Gig Harbor, will chair the Higher Education committee, replacing Rep. Deb Wallace, who didn’t seek another term. The 26th District is used to having a say on college policy in Olympia: Sen. Derek Kilmer chaired the Senate’s Higher Ed committee until he was named this month to take over the capital budget.

One of the winners in this reorganization is Rep. Steve Kirby, D-Tacoma, who will see his portfolio grow. The committee he chairs will oversee the regulation of business, not just the banks and insurance it covered before. The extra duties come from a breakup of Rep. Steve Conway‘s committee after Conway left for the Senate.

Rep. Chris Hurst, D-Enumclaw, remains in charge of the Public Safety panel. Among other local committee chairs, Rep. Tom Campbell, R-Roy, lost his bid for re-election and the panel chaired by Rep. Mark Miloscia, D-Federal Way, is being reorganized out of existence.

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