OLYMPIA -- The number of vacant seats in the Legislature continues to grow, as Sen. Cheryl Pflug accepted a gubernatorial appointment Monday to the Growth Management Hearings Board.
Pflug, R-Maple Valley, represents the suburban King County 5th Legislative District, first elected to the House in 1998, then appointed to the Senate in 2004 when Dino Rossi resigned to run for governor. (Those with really long memories might recall that the 5th District used to be located in Spokane County prior to 1992.)
Gov. Chris Gregoire announced this afternoon she was appointing Pflug to a six-year term on the board, which settles disputes over planning and development issues in cities and counties around the state, and two representatives each from Eastern Washington, Central Puget Sound, and the rest of the state West of the Cascades.
Pflug filed for re-election last week, listing her party preference as "Independent GOP Party." She will have to withdraw from that race because she can't serve on the board and in the Legislature. That leaves the seat to a race between Democrat Mark Mullet and Republican Brad Toft.
It's also at least the third surprise departure from the Senate this month. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, announced May 3 that she was retiring and Sen. Joe Zarelli of Ridgefield, the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee and a key player in this year's budget negotiations, announced last Friday that he'd had enough, too.