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Eye On Olympia

Thu., April 14, 2005, 2:27 p.m.

King for a day, or two…

Spokane gets a new state senator this week, if only for a couple of days.

The guy who'd normally be in the seat -- Sen. Brad Benson -- will trade his legislative suit and tie for chem gear as he reverts to Maj. Benson at his Air National Guard unit in Spokane.

But with a critical bill deadline hitting at 5 p.m. Friday, Senate Republicans needed every vote they could muster. So Benson found someone to vote for him: Jon Wyss, a fellow Republican from Benson's district in suburban Spokane. Wyss, whose wife is a legislative aide, happened to be in Olympia. He's former vice chair of the county GOP.

So he'll be state Sen. Jon Wyss for a couple of days, properly sworn in and voting. If he makes any speeches, however, it'll cost him -- Senate tradition requires freshmen to present a gift to all the other senators when they make their first speech.

It's quite rare for a temp to fill in for a lawmaker. The last time it happened in the senate was 14 years ago, when Sen. Mike Kreidler (now the state insurance commissioner) was called to military duty in first Gulf War. Kreidler's wife filled in for him.

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