Rolfes selected to chair Senate budget committee

Sen. Christine Rolfes, a Bainbridge Island Democrat and 23rd District lawmaker, was chosen Monday to serve as chairwoman of the crucial Senate budget committee, Ways & Means.

The appointment follows the 2017 General Election results, which shifted control of the state Senate from Republicans to Democrats.

“It is an honor to have the opportunity to serve as chair of the Senate Ways & Means Committee,” Rolfes said.

“The decisions we make in Olympia have very real impacts on the people of this state, particularly with regard to how their tax dollars are spent,” she said. “As chair of Ways & Means, I will work every day to ensure the best interests of Washingtonians are at the heart of everything we do.”

In her new role, Rolfes will be the Senate’s chief budget writer and negotiator. She will also set the committee’s agenda and lead her colleagues in determining what bills will move through the committee to be considered for a vote of the Senate.

Rolfes has been a state senator for the 23rd District — which includes Bainbridge, Poulsbo, Kingston, Silverdale and parts of Bremerton — since 2011. She has served in leadership roles within the Senate Democratic caucus in recent years, and was a chief negotiator on education policy and funding during the critical 2017 Legislative Session and has served as one of two lead Democrats on the Senate Ways & Means Committee.

Rolfes will also serve as vice chair of the Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee.

“Following some sweeping tax policy changes in the last legislative session, my aim is to make sure schools have the flexibility and funding they need, taxes are fair, businesses have the space to grow and workers across this state can thrive,” Rolfes said.

“It is also critical we get our work done on time and in a transparent way,” she said.

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