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Sen. Ranker declines Republicans’ committee offer

Senator Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas, has declined the offer from Republicans to be the chairman of the Environment and Marine Waters Committee or the co-chair of the Energy and Telecommunications Committee.

In a recently released statement Ranker said that he declined because the Republican proposal for the Energy and Telecommunications Committee  minimizes and eliminates the ability to expand renewable energy industry and create jobs in Washington state. Their proposal, he added, reduced the size of the committee to only four members.

“While they called it a "bi-partisan" committee with "co-chairs" they appointed three of their own members, the best of which has a 30 percent Conservation Voters Record and a chair with a 0 percent record.  Further, these three members have a track record of voting against expansion of our renewable energy portfolio,” Ranker said. “This at a time when a majority of Washington voters have clearly supported expansion of renewable energy at the ballot box through state-wide Initiative 937. This is also occurring at a time when we elected a governor who has dynamic plans for expansion of this industry and the thousands of associated jobs.”

He is also concerned that being chair of the Environment and Marine Waters Committee “would only allow for discussion of these important issues and not the actual advancement of critical policy.”

“Lastly, while recent press coverage has addressed the fact that certain bills may be introduced, it is clear that the new Majority has had to make commitments that will not allow any legislation associated with women's health or other issues Republicans consider ‘social issues’ to actually pass,” said Ranker. “So while some bills may be heard in committee, these critical policies protecting women's health and reproductive rights seem destined for failure. While I hope that I am not correct, I understand otherwise. In the end it comes down to this: I was elected and recently re-elected as an outspoken advocate for women's rights, equality, education, Washington jobs and the environment. I do not believe the Republican proposal for the Senate will truly support these values.  I simply cannot abandon those core values in order for a title of chair.”

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