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Bainbridge Island Senator resigns to serve as Kitsap Commissioner

OLYMPIA, Wash., June 21, 2023 — After 16 years of service in the Washington State Legislature, Senator Christine Rolfes (D-Bainbridge Island) officially announced yesterday she is stepping down from the Washington State Senate after submitting a resignation letter to Governor Jay Inslee. Her resignation from the Senate is effective Tuesday, Aug. 15.

Rolfes’ announcement comes the same day she was sworn in to serve on the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners. Rolfes will take over the vacant District 1 seat on the board after her appointment last month.

“It has been a true honor to serve the people of the 23rd Legislative District and our entire state in the Legislature,” Rolfes said. “I really want to thank my community for trusting me to do this work.”

Rolfes, chair of the powerful Ways and Means Committee since 2018, leaves behind a legacy of steady fiscal governance. Under her leadership the Legislature has, for the past six legislative sessions, delivered a four-year balanced budget on time, with billions set aside in strategic reserves. She led efforts to include historic investments in environmental restoration, behavioral health, and public education. In August of 2019, the state’s bond ratings were upgraded by Moody’s Investor Services to Triple A for the first time in state history and Washington was twice named the top state to live and work in by U.S. News and World Report. Her work has been characterized by tireless advocacy for students and teachers, healthy ecosystems, and advancing vital community projects across Kitsap County.

“I’ve been extremely proud to be part of a Legislature that works together in a bipartisan way to craft balanced budgets that will make a difference in communities across our state,” Christine Rolfes said.

She was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2006 to serve the 23rd Legislative District, which includes the communities of Hansville, Kingston, Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island, Keyport, Silverdale, and East Bremerton. She joined the Senate in 2011 and quickly became a key leader as legislators worked to find an education funding solution in response to the state Supreme Court’s 2012 McCleary ruling. She also championed legislation related to reducing toxic pollution, protecting orca whales and other endangered species, cleaning up Puget Sound, and preventing oil spills. She has been a key partner in the preservation of thousands of acres of working forests and recreational lands throughout Kitsap County and has been a leader in legislative efforts to prevent and suppress catastrophic wildfires and address climate change.

Rolfes, who started her professional career as an intern in Kitsap County’s Department of Community Development, said she is eager to return to her roots and serve her county in a new role.

“I’ve learned a lot and formed lasting relationships in the Legislature, and now I’m excited to use that experience to serve my neighbors in a new role closer to home.”

Rolfes’ four-year Senate term that began in January 2021 will be filled by a temporary appointee, who will serve through the 2024 election. The appointee will be chosen by the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners from a list of three names submitted by the district’s precinct committee officers.

SOURCE: Washington State Senate Democrats

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