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Lawmakers announce departure from Olympia

by caprecord

Two Democrats announced their departure from the Legislature this month, while a senior Republican is seeking a second elected office.

Starting today, Rep. Ross Hunter takes over as the director of the state Department of Early Learning, which received an influx of new money from this year’s state budget amid a push for more early learning and preschool programs.

Hunter was the lead Democratic budget writer in the House, chairing the House Appropriations Committee. He is a 13-year veteran of the Legislature.

Hunter will discuss his new role, which pays $150,000 a year, with “Inside Olympia” host Austin Jenkins on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 7 & 10 p.m. on TVW.

Another veteran Democrat, Sen. Brian Hatfield of Raymond, is leaving the state Senate for Gov. Jay Inslee‘s office, where he will be the sector lead for rural economic development.

Hatfield, who has served in the Legislature for 19 years in both the House and Senate, was most recently the ranking member on the Senate Agricultural & Rural Economic Development committee.

Meanwhile, Republican Sen. Pam Roach is seeking a second elected position on the Pierce County Council. Washington law doesn’t ban elected officials from holding more than one office, and Roach told The News Tribune she is not ruling out holding both positions.

Roach has represented the 31st district in the Senate for 25 years.