Since 1982, Democrats called the shots in the state House.
Voters put a stop to that in November.
The GOP now enjoys a commanding majority of House seats, all the committee chairmanships, and the speaker’s gavel.
The energized Republican lawmakers are preparing to write their first biennial budget in more than a decade and tackle an ambitious legislative agenda: welfare and health care reform, property rights, crime, spending and taxes.
And for the first time in as many years, Spokane’s predominately Republican delegation - which has been perennially relegated to the back bench - is helping lead the debate.
Four Spokane-area representatives - Mike Padden, Steve Fuhrman, Todd Mielke and Jean Silver - chair important House committees or hold positions in Republican leadership.
Their priorities and their beliefs will set much of the tone and agenda in the House.
The four new stars from the East Side spoke with The Spokesman-Review last week about their values and vision they bring to the task ahead, and their plans for the session.
Their excitement is unanimous.
Padden, the new chairman of the House Law and Justice Committee, summed it up well: “After all these years in the desert, we are finally at the oasis.”
xxxx “Steve Fuhrman” “Todd Mielke” “Mike Padden” “Jean Silver”