Also planning a campaign for 2016 is state Sen. Pam Roach, who announced last week she’ll run for a seat opening up on the Pierce County council. She’s not up for re-election to her Senate seat next year, so she won’t have to give up one to seek the other. She also wouldn’t necessarily have to step down from the Senate to serve on the county board, and isn’t saying if she would. Sen. Tim Sheldon of Potlatch, a Democrat who caucuses with Roach and other Republicans, also serves on the Mason County commission, although it could be argued the work load in Pierce County is heavier than Mason County.
So Roach will be in the Legislature next year, but two senior Democrats will not. Rep. Ross Hunter, of Medina, was named last Monday by Gov. Jay Inslee to be the director of the Department of Early Learning. As chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Hunter is the main Democrat in that chamber on the budget and spending.
Sen. Brian Hatfield, of Raymond, was named Tuesday as Inslee’s lead staffer on rural economic development. Hatfield spent 20 years in the House and nine in the Senate, with a two-year stint in between as Lt. Gov. Brad Owen’s legislative liaison.
Inslee announced both appointments while he was on his trade mission to South Korea and Japan. They come late enough in the cycle they won’t be on the November ballot. Democrats will get to nominate replacements who will serve in the 2016 session before facing election that fall.