Becky Bogard and Kathryn Hedrick
As WTA moves forward in formulating a proposal for statewide tourism marketing, it is important to take stock of the impact of the 2016 elections for executive and legislative positions.
For the most part, the results of the statewide elections are settled. However, there are still some legislative races that are in doubt and they may affect the composition of the legislature.
On the statewide races, the results are as follows:
- Governor – Jay Inslee (D)
- Lt. Governor – Cyrus Habib (D)
- Secretary of State – Kim Wyman (R)
- Treasurer – Duane Davidson (R)
- Attorney General – Bob Ferguson (D)
- State Auditor – Pat McCarthy (D)
- Commissioner of Public Lands – Hilary Franz (D)
- Superintendent of Public Instruction – Chris Reykdal (Non-Partisan)
- Insurance Commissioner – Mike Kreidler (D)
In the state Senate, it appears the majority will remain with the Majority Coalition Caucus (made of 24 Republicans and one Democrat). There is still one race in doubt. Incumbent 5thdistrict Democrat Mark Mullet leads his challenger, Chad Magendanz by about 1100 votes.
There will be a new senator appointed to replace the late Sen. Andy Hill. This person has to be the same party as Sen. Hill who was a Republican. Additionally, there will be a new senator appointed to replace Sen. Pam Roach, who was elected to the Pierce County Council, a full time job. The appointment will also be a Republican. On the Democratic side, there will be a new senator to replace Sen. Habib, who is now the Lt. governor. There will also be a new senator to replace Pramila Jayapal who was elected to Congress.
There will be some changes in committee chairs. It is anticipated that Sen. John Braun (R, Centralia) will replace Sen. Hill as chair of Ways and Means. There will also be a new chair of the Senate Education Committee.
In the state House of Representatives, there are several races still in doubt that, depending on the outcome, could impact the majority. The pre-election balance is 50 Democrats and 48 Republicans. Democrats lost a seat in the 31st district (Auburn) but appear to have picked up two seats in 30th district (Federal Way). In the 19th district (Longview, Grays Harbor, Pacific County), the Democrat, who lead by 86 votes, is now behind and will probably loose. What this all means is that the House will most likely be 50-48, the same as the current makeup.
The House may reduce the number of committees, and there may be some changes in current committee chairs. Reorganization efforts in the House begin this coming Friday, November 18. This will include determining the committee structure and assigning members to committees.
It doesn’t really seem like the elections will make many changes that will impact tourism legislation. Many of our advocates got re-elected. Some moved from the House to the Senate. The balance of power in and between the two houses of the legislature is virtually the same.
Progress to date.
The discussions of the tourism working group continue. While there seems to be general agreement on the structure and content of a statewide tourism marketing program, there is still not consensus on how to fund the effort. Many ideas have been discussed and undoubtedly will continue to be discussed as the legislative session progresses. There will be a working group conference call on November 21 to discuss options further and to try to come to a consensus or at least agree on a place to start. More details of the legislative proposal will be available by the end of the year, if not before.