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Sen. Debbie Regala will retire at end of term

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on April 27, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
April 27, 2011 4:36 pm

Tacoma will elect a new state senator next year. Debbie Regala won’t run for another four-year term in 2012, she told me today on her 66th birthday.

It’s no surprise to her fellow legislators, whom she has told for some time she doesn’t plan to run again. After 17 years in the House and Senate, Regala said she will be ready to retire after another year.

The Democrat wants to spend more time with her 95-year-old mother, she said.

“I’m very proud of the whole variety of things I’ve done,” Regala said. That includes helping write the 1999 Forest and Fish law as co-chair of the House Natural Resources Committee and working on sweeping reforms of sales tax collection and prisoner re-entry.

Lately, she has been focused on the state’s welfare budget. Federal block grants to pay for welfare haven’t grown as more people have come on to the rolls, opening up a shortfall of nearly one-fifth of that $2 billion budget.

Senators today unanimously passed Regala’s bill to suspend job-search and training requirements for some families on welfare, thereby avoiding the need to pay for their child care during job hunts. Only one- and two-parent families with a child younger than six would be eligible.

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