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Rolfes sworn in as Senate opens special session

Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, is given the oath of office by State Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Charles W. Johnson on Monday, opening day of the legislature’s special session. - Photo courtesy of Washington State Senate
Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, is given the oath of office by State Supreme Court Associate Chief Justice Charles W. Johnson on Monday, opening day of the legislature’s special session.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Washington State Senate

OLYMPIA — Sen. Christine Rolfes, a Bainbridge Island Democrat, said her first day in the Washington State Senate wasn't all that different from a typical day she spent as a three-term member of the House of Representatives.

But she added that the three-week special session, which began with her being sworn in, will be far from ordinary since legislators face many difficult choices as they address a $1.4 billion budget shortfall.

“I’m honored and humbled to represent my community in the Senate during this difficult time,” said Rolfes, who was sworn into office during opening ceremonies.

“Families in Kitsap County rely on strong schools, good jobs and safe communities, and it’s our job in the Legislature to do all we can to support them,” she said. "Basically, we will be setting the stage for budget discussions and reforming policy for when we return for the regular session in January."

Rolfes will serve on three committees during the special session, including: vice-chair of both the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education and Environment and Water & Energy committees; and the important Transportation Committee.

"I got the committees I asked for and they're very similar in policy and substance to what I had in the House…

She said the Education Committee will be particularly interesting "because we will have to do some reform and policy changes in order to reduce state spending. And the Environmental Committee will also require some legal and policy changes."

Rolfes was appointed to her Senate seat July 20 to replace former Sen. Phil Rockefeller. Prior to her appointment, she had represented the 23rd District in the House of Representatives since 2007.

"My new job isn't all that different from the old one," she said, "other than having more people to meet and more responsibility."

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