As expected — if sooner than expected — minority House Republicans made Rep. Dan Kristiansen of Snohomish their leader today.
The vote was unanimous and no rivals stepped forward for the job, Puyallup Rep. Hans Zeiger said today after voting. Once Chehalis Rep. Richard DeBolt stepped down as leader last week, the caucus quickly coalesced around Kristiansen, a 50-year-old member of the Legislature since 2003 who owns a commercial real estate business.
His move up left a vacancy in the position of caucus chairman, and Republicans elected Rep. Judy Warnick, Zeiger said. He said University Place Rep. Steve O’Ban will serve as assistant floor leader, replacing Rep. Liz Pike who didn’t run to stay in the position.
Kristiansen is likely to continue Republicans’ steadfast opposition to Democrats’ budget plan extending expiring taxes and eliminating tax exemptions to address a court ruling demanding more spending on schools. In his newsletter Thursday, he told constituents:
Let us please remember: Washington is expected to take in $2 billion more in the coming budget cycle over the current one. We do not need tax increases to balance our state’s budget.
His statement today:
I appreciate the confidence my colleagues have shown in me, but this isn’t about me. This is about a group of 43 Republican lawmakers who are dedicated to creating jobs, improving our education system and protecting hard-working taxpayers. It’s a unique time to come in as leader, but we are all united and will continue to advocate for solutions to get Washington working.