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Friday, December 21, 2007

The Supermajority Democrats Strike Again

posted by on December 21 at 11:03 AM

So, who did the supermajority Democrats appoint to head up the state House Agriculture and Natural Resources committee—the committee that’s central to drafting state environmental policies that affect water, watershed planning, timber, mining, and fish and wildlife?

Answer, an environmental conservative from logging country, of course. The new chair is Rep. Brian Blake (D-19, Aberdeen) who gets a C from the local Sierra club’s Cascade chapter. Blake voted, for example, against a bill to up biodiesel use.

“Brian Blake, in the past, has not had environmental issues as a priority and he has been hard to convince,” Clifford Traisman, state lobbyist for Washington Conservation Voters, says diplomatically.

Blake is replacing Brian Sullivan (D-21, Mukilteo) who’s leaving the legislature for a spot on the Snohomish County Council. Sullivan rated an A+ from the Sierra Club.

Silver-Lining UPDATE
Brand new Rep. Sharon Nelson (D-34)—appointed to fill now-state-Senator Joe McDermott’s seat—was assigned to Ag & Natural Resources. Nelson, an environmental warrior who was appointed by her district based on her record of fighting to save Maury Island from strip mining, will be a pain in Blake’s ass.

I’ve linked all the committee reassignments for the 2008 House Democrats below the jump.

Rep. Sherry Appleton reassigned from Early Learning & Children’s Services to
Capital Budget

Rep. Brian Blake, appointed Chair, Agriculture & Natural Resources

Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, reassigned from Agriculture & Natural Resources to Ecology & Parks

Rep. Hans Dunshee, reassigned from Appropriations Subcommittee on Education to Ecology & Parks

Rep Deb Eddy, appointed Vice Chair, Technology, Energy & Communications
Rep Bill Eickmeyer, appointed to Ecology & Parks

Rep. Roger Goodman, reassigned from Capital Budget to Early Learning & Children’s Services

Rep Tami Green, reassigned from State Government & Tribal Affairs to Appropriations

Rep. Ruth Kagi, removed from Agriculture & Natural Resources

Rep Troy Kelley, reassigned from Housing to Technology, Energy & Communications

Rep Steve Kirby, assigned to Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness

Rep. John McCoy, appointed Chair, Technology, Energy & Communications

Rep Jeff Morris, assigned to Rules

Rep Jim Moeller, assigned to Rules, replacing Rep John McCoy

Rep Sharon Nelson, assigned to Agriculture & Natural Resources, Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government & Audit Review, and Local Government

Rep Al O’Brien, assigned to Ecology & Parks

Rep Mary Helen Roberts, appointed Vice Chair of Early Learning & Children’s Services

Rep Christine Rolfes, assigned to Ecology & Parks, and appointed Vice Chair

Rep Larry Springer, assigned to Appropriations Subcommittee on Education

Rep Dean Takko, appointed Vice Chair of Local Government, replacing Rep Deb Eddy

Rep Dave Upthegrove, assigned to Ecology & Parks, and appointed Chair

Rep Kevin Van De Wege, appointed Vice Chair of Agriculture & Natural Resources

Rep Brendan Williams, reassigned from Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government & Audit Review to Transportation

21st District appointee, assigned to Education, Housing, and State Government & Tribal Affairs

44th District appointee, assigned to Agriculture & Natural Resources, Insurance, Financial Services & Consumer Protection, and Transportation

RSS icon Comments

1

Well, it's just a committee. There are many people on a committee, and they represent this giant thing called a state - a state that has many different viewpoints.

The question is more what the Rules Committee does - which pushes thru bills and decides the order they are done (or more usually by sleight of hand, NOT done).

The 6-8 foot Blue Wave in 2008 (2006 was a 2 footer) will create a lot more D's in areas that have been R before. You work with what you get.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 21, 2007 12:13 PM
2

oh thank christ jeff morris was appointed to rules. i knew santa would pull through.

Posted by kinkos | December 21, 2007 12:41 PM
3

Biodiesel is a red-herring. It's not all that green, and the corn that goes into making it costs a ton in fossil fuels.

Posted by Andrew | December 21, 2007 12:42 PM
4

"The 6-8 foot Blue Wave in 2008 (2006 was a 2 footer) will create a lot more D's in areas that have been R before."

Where? The suburbs are already nearly maxed-out from 2006, and even with the state GOP in such sorry shape it's highly unlikely to pick up seats in the rock-solid rural GOP areas.

In my estimation, Democrats can realistically target five Senate seats: Pflug, Benton, Zarelli, Carrell, and Stevens. The only ones that might change absent a wave are Benton and Carrell, which are genuine swing districts. Republicans can realistically target McAuliffe, Rasmussen, Haugen, Kastama, and perhaps Pridemore. At least for the upper house, 2008 won't be anywhere near 2006 as far as Democratic successes, and may well end up a wash.

The House might still have some fruit to bear, but I can't imagine it would surpass the six seat gain from last cycle. Democrats should have no problem picking up the Dunn seat, probably even if the GOP gets their act together and primaries him, and then the seat Joyce McDonald is vacating should be ripe for a pick-up. Both 10th district races should be competitive. The GOP can still target Barlow in the 6th, Green/Kelley in the 28th, and maybe a few Eastside seats still. Steve Litzow should keep the old Jarrett seat competitive, but the 41st has gone Democratic so fast that I suspect it will stay Democratic regardless.

Posted by TMW | December 21, 2007 1:11 PM
5

Please don't trouble Will in Seattle with realism--it is a waste of all of our time.

Posted by tiptoe tommy | December 21, 2007 2:19 PM
6

TMW - my, you haven't been paying attention to the polls, have you? How's Mercer Island working for you, by the way?

@3 - most bio-diesel in this state is not corn-based (caveat: I own 100 shares of Valero Energy) but from other crops (or food waste). Switchgrass and algae are major research subjects for bio-diesel in Washington state, as well. But the subsidies for corn ethanol do distort this market.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 21, 2007 3:02 PM
7

At least Rep. Upthegrove is the new Chair of the Ecology & Parks Committee. He's got an A+ Sierra Club rating and led the Puget Sound stuff last year and was a big-time champ trying to stop the Maury Island mine. Hopefully his ascencion is a silver lining....

Posted by jessica | December 21, 2007 5:31 PM
8

@7: More than a silver lining. All the enviro issues, except for straight resource issues will go to Upthegrove's committee. Global Warming legislation, as well as Puget Sound will be heard in his Ecology committee. That's great news. Upthegrove is one of the greener House members and is already conspiring with Hans Dunshee on major climate legislation.

On the other hand, Blake is all about cutting down trees and supporting the Farm Bureau's unsustainable, corporate farming agenda - definitely a bad development on those issues.

Posted by Bill LaBorde | December 21, 2007 8:27 PM
9

"TMW - my, you haven't been paying attention to the polls, have you? How's Mercer Island working for you, by the way?"

Did you read a word of what I posted? The numbers aren't there for another Democratic landslide, they've already won too much. To think otherwise is unrealistic.

Posted by TMW | December 21, 2007 10:06 PM
10

@7 and @8. It was my understanding as well that ecology and parks would be getting the enivro issues, while Blacks committee would get farm and timber shit.

Upthegrove is an awesome choice for this by the way. He was a leader on the Puget Sound Partnership and leader on environmental issues. He is one of Olympia's up and coming stars and will serve well as the leader of of this committee.

Posted by Giffy | December 21, 2007 10:21 PM
11

It's funny that Blake would come out against biodiesel when the biggest production plant around will be in Gray's Harbor. The possibility of a methanol producer that will work with wood chips (eg small diameter thinnings from forests) might be a good thing. Re corn: even if local ethanol production isn't from corn, the wheat prices are doubled above last year's record price... somewhat unnerving. Algae research = good... but more acreage in oil crops?.. maybe not so...
Sharon Nelson a definite "plus".
Q: When do the turbines go into The Narrows for the "tidal power" demo? ^..^

Posted by herbert browne | December 23, 2007 11:05 PM

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