OLYMPIA – Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, will serve on the Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education Committee, the Natural Resources & Parks Committee, and the Transportation Committee.
Rolfes' new assignments were finalized this week, as the Legislature convened for a new session and majority control of the Senate changed hands.
Rolfes will serve as a ranking member on the education and natural resources committees. On the Transportation Committee, she said she will advocate for stabilizing the state ferry system critical to many Kitsap communities.
“As one of only a handful of mothers in the Legislature with kids in our public schools, I'm proud to serve in a continuing leadership role on the education committee,” Rolfes said in a press release. “We know there is nothing more important to the future of our state than giving our kids the tools they need to be successful in the future, and we have to make improving and adequately funding the schools across our state a top legislative priority.
“I’m also excited to take on a new responsibility tackling issues facing Washington’s irreplaceable natural resources. All together, we have our work cut out for us this year.”
On the education committee, Rolfes was designated by Senate Democrats as their lead on issues of reform and providing the funding necessary to implement improvements ordered by the state Supreme Court in what is known as the McCleary decision. That decision requires the state Legislature to provide adequate funding for public education by 2018. State Rep. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, a member of the House Education Committee, said the Legislature must raise $4.5 billion by 2018 to satisfy the court mandate.
Last month, the majority Democratic caucus named Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, vice chairwoman of the Community Development, Housing and Tribal Affairs Committee. She was also named to the Capital Budget and Public Safety committees.
Rep. Drew Hansen, D-Bainbridge, was named vice chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He was also named to the Finance and Higher Education committees.