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John Smith, a Colville-area farmer and businessman, was appointed by Northeastern Washington county commissioners to replace Bob Morton, who retired at the beginning of the year from his post as 7th District state Senator.
He'll be sworn in Jan. 9 in advance of the session, which starts Jan. 14.
A county commissioner, a former legislator and a former legislative aide are among five applicants so far for an open state Senate seat in Northeastern Washington’s 7th District.
The seat becomes open Jan. 1 when Sen. Bob Morton, a 22-year veteran legislator, retires halfway through his term. Republican precinct committee officers in the district will nominate as many as three possible replacement to the county commissioners from Spokane, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry and Okanogan counties, who must choose one through a majority vote.
The district’s two state representatives, Republicans Joel Kretz and Shelly Short have said they won’t seek the Senate position.
Applicants can seek the office up to the time precinct officers meet on Dec. 15 in Colville. At this point, GOP officials said they knew of five actively seeking the job
Josh Kerns, a former legislative aide and campaign manager, said today he'll apply for the open state Senate seat in Northeast Washington's 7th District.
Kerns, 27, was a legislative aide during the last session to state Rep. John Ahern, managed the campaign of Ahern's replacement Representative-elect Jeff Holy, and once served as an intern to U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. He describes himself as an “action-oriented advocate of property rights” and someone who won't take as much time to get accustomed to the job because of his experience as a legislative aide.
He has lived in Mead all of his life, but the area has been moved around by legislative redistricting every 10 years. Until this spring he was in the 6th District but the redrawing of lines put him in the 7th,which is where it was in the 1990s after Spokane lost the 5th District which had that area in the 1980s.
Republican precinct committee officers from the 7th District will meet on Dec. 15 in Colville to nominate as many as three people to fill the seat. County commissioners from Spokane, Pend Oreille, Stevens, Ferry and Okanogan counties will meet sometime after Jan. 1, when Bob Morton's retirement becomes official, to select one of those nominees.
The district's two House members, Reps. Joel Kretz and Shelly Short, have said they will not seek a nomination to the Senate.
OLYMPIA — Rep. Shelly Short said this evening she will not seek the state Senate seat that will become open on Jan. 1 with the retirement of Bob Morton.
Morton, a 22-year veteran of the Legislature, announced last week that he would retire halfway through his current term. His position will be filled through a process that takes as many as three nominations from Republican precinct committee officers in northeast Washington's 7th Legislative District, and a majority vote by commissioners of the five counties in the district.
Short, who was just elected to her third House term in November, said she wants to remain in that chamber and continue her work on issues involving energy, the environment and natural resources: “It's important to keep that continuity.”
Conversations she has had over the last several days convinced her there are good candidates in the district interested in the Senate seat.
Rep. Joel Kretz, the district's senior House member, previously said he would not seek the seat.
OLYMPIA — State Rep. Joel Kretz of Wauconda will not seek the 7th District Senate seat being vacated by Bob Morton, but seatmate Shelly Short said she is considering it.
Morton announced this week that he will retire at the end of this year, leaving two years on his term. . .
OLYMPIA — Bob Morton, a conservative Republican who has served northeastern Washington's 7th District for 22 years, will retire from the Legislature at the start of next year.
Morton announced today he will step down half way through his current term, setting the stage for a multi-county process to select a replacement. The district includes northern parts of Spokane County as well as part of Okanogan and all of Pend Oreille, Stevens and Ferry counties.
Morton said he was stepping aside to let “new blood, and a new way of looking at things” take his place: “I looked at things and I thought it was time for me to vacate that seat and leave it to someone else.”
After spending three years in the state House of Representatives, Morton moved to the Senate, where he is now the second most senior member of that chamber.
He's retired from the small logging business his family owns, and sometimes fills in as a preacher at his local church. He plans to spend time working on a long list of home and garden projects and spend more time with his wife and grandchildren.
OLYMPIA (AP) — A state senator’s plan to split Washington in half is placing him in Double Jeopardy. Literally.
The long-running quiz show “Jeopardy!” used a clue in Tuesday night’s show that mentioned Republican state Sen. Bob Morton. The Kettle Falls lawmaker has previously proposed breaking Washington into two states, arguing that people on the eastern half have different politics, cultures and economies. Morton’s plan has never gotten any traction in the Legislature.
The proposal, however, found its way into a “Double Jeopardy!” segment under the category “Proposed States.” The $800 clue said: “State Senator Bob Morton has proposed that Washington east of these mountains go its own way.”
A contestant got the correct response: “What are the Cascades?”
OLYMPIA — Beavers making a nuisance of themselves in Western Washington could be relocated to Eastern Washington areas that need their help in damming streams, but the furry critters from Eastern Washington couldn't be shipped west under a bill approved Wednesday by the Senate.
Seems there's already too many of the tree-chomping mammals west of the Cascades.
The proposal, described by Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, as a “cute, furry little bill,” allows the Department of Fish and Wildlife to set up a system in which a landowner who wants to improve groundwater or downstream flows can request beavers being captured elsewhere and removed from land where they are creating a nuisance. It also provided several legislators some much-needed work on their joke delivery.
RECREATION — East Siders don't are having a tough time this week handling appointments to Washington panels.
Okanogan County commissioners wrote a letter to Gov. Chris Gregoire criticizing the appointment of Jay Kehne to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission because they said he didn't reflect their values, particularly about wolves.
Tuesday, Sen. Bob Morton, R-Kettle Falls, asked the governor to rescind her recent appointment of Seattle resident Ted Willhite to the state Recreation and Conservation Funding Board.
“Mr. Willhite is listed on the board roster as being from Twisp and his appointment fills a spot intended to represent the interests of Eastern Washington,” Morton said. “But this is preposterous! Mr. Willhite owns a second residence near Twisp, but he lives and works in Seattle. This is not fair to our side of the state and it shuns good Eastern Washington candidates for service on this board who would eagerly and honorably promote and protect our interests.”
The mission of the board is to provide leadership and funding to help protect and enhance Washington's natural and recreational resources.
“The board has four Western Washington members and only one from our side of the state, Yakima,” Morton said. “The governor needs to set this right. I await her response.”
OLYMPIA – About half of the 15 members of the Spokane-area legislative delegation have volunteered for the same level of pay cuts the imposed on state workers. That’s a level slightly better than legislators statewide.
Many who have done it, like Rep. Kevin Parker, R-Spokane, say it’s a personal decision.
“As a businessman, the buck starts and stops with me,” said Parker, who owns a chain of coffee shops. “It’s the same with us as legislators.”
Parker’s seatmate in Spokane’s 6th District, Republican John Ahern, said he doesn’t plan to ask for a pay cut, but he is donating 3 percent or more to charities, ranging from his church and the Boy Scouts to organizations that oppose abortion like Teen-Aid.
“This way I know exactly where the money is going,” Ahern said. If he took a pay cut, the money would stay in the state’s general fund, and go to state programs or agencies he doesn’t support….