Sen. Mark Schoesler is a wheat farmer and a 20-year veteran of the Legislature who hails from rural Ritzville, about halfway between the Tri-Cities and Spokane.
He has helped write the state budget and has been a loud opponent of anything he sees as government waste. He also chaired Senate Republicans’ campaign committee, which couldn’t take over the majority but picked up one seat, leaving the GOP with more control if they can ally with two fiscally conservative Democrats.
Now he will be at the forefront as the Senate figures out who’s in charge. Republicans today elected him their leader, replacing Mike Hewitt, who is stepping down after seven years in the position.
The GOP tabbed Joe Fain of Auburn to replace Schoesler as floor leader, the No. 3 position in caucus leadership. Fain is a freshman who at 31 is the youngest senator, Republicans said.
Here’s the Senate GOP news release, which also details new positions in leadership for Ann Rivers of La Center, John Braun of Lewis County and Bruce Dammeier of Puyallup:
Schoesler elected Senate Republican leader; other leadership posts filled
OLYMPIA…The Senate Republican Caucus today elected Sen. Mark Schoesler as Senate Republican leader and filled their other leadership posts for the upcoming two-year legislative term.
As leader, Schoesler, R-Ritzville, serves as caucus spokesperson on legislative policy matters, represents the caucus in working with other elected officials and the governor, and implements general legislative policies and priorities that reflect the views of the caucus. He also serves as the top-ranking Republican on the Senate Rules Committee and chairs the committee that assigns Senate Republicans to their various committee positions.
Schoesler was elected to the House of Representatives in 1992; after six terms 9th Legislative District voters sent him to the Senate in 2006. He served as Senate Republican whip that year and has served as Senate Republican floor leader since 2007. While in the House Schoesler served as House Republican Whip from 1999 through 2001. He is a member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and served as part of the Senate Republican budget negotiating team in 2011 and 2012.
Senate Republicans also elected other members of their leadership team during their customary biennial reorganization meeting. They are:
- · Caucus Chair – Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, Wenatchee. Parlette has served in this role since 2006. As caucus chair she calls the caucus into session, sets the agenda for and presides over caucus meetings, serves as ranking Republican on the Senate Facilities and Operations Committee and represents the caucus on operational matters.
- · Floor Leader – Sen. Joe Fain, Auburn. In this role Fain will coordinate the caucus’s floor action, serve on the Senate Rules Committee and represent the caucus on procedural matters.
- · Whip – Sen. Ann Rivers, La Center. In her position as whip, Rivers will act as a point of contact for the location of members during floor sessions and count votes on key legislation.
- · Deputy Leader – Sen. Don Benton, Vancouver. In this role Benton will assist the caucus leader in communicating the caucus’s legislative goals, policies, issues and priorities.
- · Caucus Vice Chair – Senator-elect Bruce Dammeier, Puyallup. In this role Dammeier will assist the caucus chair and preside over caucus meetings in her absence, and act as a liaison between ranking members on the various Senate committees and caucus leadership.
- · Deputy Floor Leader – Sen. Jim Honeyford, Sunnyside. In this role, Honeyford assists the floor leader in his duties and helps the floor leader and whip coordinate procedural votes with members.
- · Deputy Whip – Senator-elect John Braun, Centralia. In this role Braun will act as backup to the whip and monitors attendance during floor sessions and caucus meetings.
The 2013 legislative session begins Monday, Jan. 14 and will last 105 days.
And here’s the release from Fain:
Fain elected to leadership post in state Senate
OLYMPIA…State Sen. Joe Fain was elected as the floor leader by his caucus, one of four top leadership positions filled by Republican senators as they met Wednesday in Olympia.
“I’m looking forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to make progress for Washington residents on important issues like education, budget sustainability, and transportation,” said Fain.
As floor leader, Fain will coordinate floor action when the full Senate is in session and will work across the aisle on actions that take place in the Senate chamber.
The floor leader also serves as a member of the powerful Rules Committee, which is an important step in determining which pieces of legislation will be voted on by the full Senate.
Fain, the Senate’s youngest member, was selected unanimously by the caucus and is the youngest senator to serve in this position in recent decades. He is midway through his first term as state senator for Washington’s 47th Legislative District, which includes Auburn, Kent and Covington.
“The public is rightfully demanding that their elected representatives work together to solve problems,” continued Fain. “Good ideas don’t have an ‘R’ or a ‘D’ next to them. Our state Senate is in a strong position to get things done without being hobbled by the partisanship we see in Washington, D.C.”
Legislative committees will assemble Thursday and Friday to review decisions from previous sessions and make plans for the 2013 legislative session, which begins Jan. 14 and will last 105 days.