Ranker named to four committees, elected vice chairman of two

Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen and Senator-elect Kevin Ranker discuss transportation issues after a meeting of the Senate Transportation Committee. - Contributed photo
Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen and Senator-elect Kevin Ranker discuss transportation issues after a meeting of the Senate Transportation Committee.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Senator-elect Kevin Ranker, D-San Juan Island, on Dec. 5 was elected vice-chairman of two standing committees in the State Senate, and was named to the Transportation Committee and the Environment, Water and Energy Committee for the 2009 Legislative Session.

"As an incoming freshman senator, it's a great honor to help lead the Senate in our efforts to help protect the environment and cultivate jobs and development in rural areas like our district, and all across Washington," Ranker said in a press release.

At their pre-session retreat in Olympia, the 31 Senate Democrats elected Ranker vice chairman of the Agriculture and Rural Economic Development Committee, and vice chairman of the Natural Resources, Ocean and Recreation Committee.

"We're all excited to have Kevin joining us in Olympia this year. His experiences as a San Juan County commissioner will be a tremendous addition to our caucus as we work to balance a budget deficit and protect jobs in our state," Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, said in the press release.

Ranker will be the only freshman to serve on four committees and the only freshman to serve as vice chairman of two. Ranker said his membership on the Transportation Committee will allow him to focus on the immense role that ferries play in the 40th District, as well as safety projects.

"I'm looking forward to help bring about the change that Americans are looking for in their government," Ranker said. "Once we get started in January with the Legislative Session, we'll be making tough fiscal decisions but our commitments to the environment and to protecting jobs must remain steadfast."

Ranker represents Washington's 40th District, which encompasses San Juan County, and parts of Whatcom and Skagit counties, including Bellingham and Mount Vernon. The Legislature is scheduled to convene on Jan. 12 for a 105-day session.

Sen. Mary Margaret Haugen, D-Camano Island, who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee, bid farewell to retiring state Sen. Harriet Spanel and welcomed Ranker to the committee.

“Harriet has been a great public servant for the people she represents and a huge asset to our committee,” Haugen said.

Of Ranker, she said, “As someone from the San Juan Islands, Kevin knows about ferries — that’s a big advantage to someone who serves on this committee, especially given the problems we’re facing in turning things around at WSF."

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