Political Beat

Rivers, Benton, Moeller picked for party leadership roles

More legislators from Clark County were selected this week for leadership positions, giving them more of a say in the lawmaking process.

State Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, was picked as Republican caucus whip, meaning she’ll be in charge of knowing where all the Republican Senators are in the chamber, and making sure they are aware of important upcoming votes. Rivers previously served as assistant whip in the House.

Rivers replaced longtime Sen. Joe Zarelli, R-Ridgefield, who resigned in May.

“I’m honored that my colleagues have entrusted me with a leadership position so early in my time as a senator,” Rivers said in a news release. “We’ll be sitting down very soon to map things out for the upcoming session.”

State Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, was picked as deputy leader, meaning he will help Senate Republican leader, Sen. Mark Shoesler of Ritzville, set caucus priorities. Benton also will fill in for Shoesler if Shoesler is absent.

This is contingent upon Benton surviving a recount in his race for re-election. His Democratic challenger, Tim Probst, is behind by 78 votes, and Clark County election officials will begin a hand recount next week. Benton has already declared victory in the race.

Benton said in a news release that he was honored to be picked as deputy leader of the Senate Republican caucus.

Meanwhile, state Rep. Jim Moeller, D-Vancouver, was selected again as House Speaker Pro Tempore. That’s subject to a House vote when the 2013 legislative session begins in January. In that role, Moeller would preside over floor debates in the House.

“Our House Democratic leadership team works with our Republican colleagues to keep the process moving forward,” Moeller said in a news release. “We don’t always agree on the issues, certainly, but we do our best to keep the state-governing process civil and productive here in this Washington.”

Earlier this month, other legislators from Clark County were elevated to positions of leadership within their parties. State Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, was selected as House Republican whip, and state Rep. Liz Pike, R-Camas, was picked as House Republican assistant floor leader.

Democratic senator-elect Annette Cleveland was selected as assistant floor leader for the Senate Democratic caucus.

Stevie Mathieu: 360-735-4523 or stevie.mathieu@columbian.com or www.facebook.com/reportermathieu or www.twitter.com/col_politics

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