Rep. Marlin Appelwick of Seattle was selected Sunday as minority leader of the Democrats’ House caucus.
The top leadership post was left vacant at the end of the 1995 legislative session when Rep. Brian Ebersole stepped aside to run for mayor of Tacoma.
The caucus said in a news release that state Rep. Lisa Brown of Spokane was named minority floor leader, while state Rep. Lynn Kessler of Hoquiam was named minority whip.
Appelwick said he plans to use his new position to diffuse what he sees as an extremist bent in the majority Republican Party.
“Democrats will continue to represent mainstream Washington and serve as leaders on important issues,” Appelwick said.
“We’re going to focus on overcoming the extremism that has crept into the Republican caucus. I think the surest way to serve the people of this state is to return the House to a more democratic, mainstream philosophy.”
Appelwick, has served in the House since 1983 and has worked on measures to fight crime, stop drug trafficking, curb drunken driving and protect consumers from dangerous products.
Brown, serving her second term in the House, is an associate professor of economics at Eastern Washington University. She has played a lead role in child care, higher education and welfare reform issues.
Kessler, also serving her second term in the House, has worked on timber and fishing issues and economic development in rural Washington.
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