Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Thursday, November 01, 2007

"New Guy from 9 may end up twiddling his thumbs in Olympia"

The November 10 Joint 9th Legislative District Republican PCO meeting in Colfax to select the 3 candidates to replace David Buri will be open to the public. This whole process is open to voter input. As GOP Precinct Committee Officer for Precinct 120 in Pullman, feel free to contact me at palousitics@adelphia.net to share any input you may have. And I'm still receptive to any candidate, or representative of a candidate, making a pitch here on Palousitics. From today's Lewiston Tribune:
Six eastern Washington men are vying to become Rep. New Guy from legislative District 9.

One lucky soul will take over the reign of Rep. David Buri, R-Colfax, who stepped down today to work at Eastern Washington University.

Sadly, the winner, who will hustle off to the magical lawmaking land of Olympia mere hours after his coronation, might not have much to do once he gets there.

"There is a small amount of work," said John Rothlin, chief of staff of the House Republicans in Olympia. "November 29th and 30th are what we call Committee Assembly Days."

That's when the Republicans meet with their committees to study and plan and scheme for the 2008 session. But there's a good chance New Guy from 9 won't have any committee assignments.

County commissioners from six counties are meeting Monday, Nov. 26, to crown Buri's successor.

The man will not automatically get Buri's old committee seats, Rothlin said, adding two days likely won't be enough time for minority party leaders to figure out where to put him.

"My guess is he would probably not have committee assignments or be participating in the committee process at that point," Rothlin said.

Poor New Guy.

Nothing to do. Shuffling from committee to committee, lurking in doorways, asking in a small, perky voice, "Hey guys. What are you doing?"

"Nothing, New Guy from 9," some member of Appropriations or Transportation will bark. "Why don't you go bug the guys at Health Care and Wellness? They don't get much company."

Of course, New Guy from 9 might not be roaming the halls alone.

On Wednesday, Rep. Richard Curtis, R-La Center, resigned after a scandal involving alleged gay sex and blackmail - now there's a Halloween memory that'll be tough to forget.

So, District 18 is suddenly in the hunt for a new representative too. Odds are New Guy from 18 will need a pal.

But if the District 9 commissioners would just make their choice a week earlier, that would likely be enough time to get New Guy from 9 on some committees, Rothlin said.

Is it possible to ask the commissioners to hurry up? You might as well ask lightning to slow down.

Or, as Whitman County Commissioner Michael Largent says, "If you've had any dealings with county commissioners, they're a little bit like herding cats."

The commissioners from Franklin, Adams, Asotin, Whitman, Garfield and Spokane counties were already planning to meet about a watershed agreement on Nov. 26. So it made sense to choose Buri's successor then, said Largent, who was working late Wednesday at the Whitman County Courthouse.

Also, when Largent was trying to set the date, he didn't have any luck getting House Republican leaders to give any input.

But Largent isn't worried about New Guy from 9 drifting listless through Committee Assembly Days.

"I don't believe our new guy will run around without committee assignments," Largent said.

It shouldn't be tough for the Republican leaders to anticipate what a 9th District lawmaker will be angling for either.

"The House caucus should understand we have an interest in agriculture that is very important to the 9th District," he said.

So it goes.

Washington's new legislative session begins Jan. 14.

Regardless of how Committee Assembly Days go, there's no question that whoever becomes New Guy from 9, he'll be plenty busy by then.

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