Politics & Government

Rep.-elect Reykdal lands No. 2 spot on labor panel

Democrat Chris Reykdal of Tumwater is poised to start his legislative career as a committee vice chairman. More exactly: he'll be vice chair of the House Labor and Workforce Development Committee in another two weeks.

It looks like a natural fit for the new 22nd-district representative. His day job prior to winning election over GOP candidate Jason Hearn on Nov. 2 was as deputy director of the state agency overseeing technical and community colleges. Reykdal's committee appointment was one of dozens announced by House Democrats in Olympia last week (I'm catching up).

Here is House Democrats’ full list of committee appointments (they are reducing their committee number from 25 to 21, reflecting their smaller majority of 56 members versus 42 for Republicans). And here’s a link to an item on House Democrats’ recent leadership appointments and a look at other regional appointments to committees. Reykdal is no stranger to committee hearings, having testified on bills. He also attended House Democratic Caucus meetings in early December, getting a quick jump on things. He said at the time he still hopes to keep alive discussions of revenue opportunities that could let lawmakers blunt the education and health-care cuts already on everyone’s radar.Reykdal’s other committee assignments: Education Appropriations and Oversight, Higher Education and Transportation (all you commuters enjoying congestion along the Joint Base Lewis-McChord area now know who to call locally). He'll serve on the labor panel with Rep. Mike Sells, the Democratic chairman from Everett.Reykdal is replacing three-term Rep. Brendan Williams, the outspoken progressive Democrat who has moved on to a job with the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

House Republicans' committee assignments were still in the works at last word.

Other South Sound Democrats also got assignments:In the 22nd district, Rep. Sam Hunt of Olympia is returning to his chairmanship in the House State Government and Tribal Affairs Committee. Hunt also is on Ways and Means and on the Education Committee (newly chaired by Rep. Sharon Tomiko Santos).In the 35th district, Rep. Kathy Haigh, D-Shelton, is returning as chairwoman of the House Education Appropriations and Oversight Committee. She also is serving on Ways and Means and on Education.And Rep. Fred Finn, D-Thurston County, is vice chairman of the House Community Development and Housing Committee (chaired by Rep. Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney) as he enters his second term. He also is serving on the Education and Transportation committees.Senate Democrats completed their leadership team and committee chair appointments last month. They named Thurston County Sen. Karen Fraser as caucus chair, the No. 2 Senate Democratic role. House Republicans also completed their leadership line-up last month, re-electing Richard DeBolt of Chehalis as minority leader, and Senate Republicans earlier re-elected Sen. Mike Hewitt of Walla Walla as minority leader.