Morning Fizz

Female Democratic House Reps Underepresented in Leadership

Caffeinated News featuring a glass ceiling in Olympia and a national laughingstock on the waterfront.

By Josh Feit December 29, 2014

Caffeinated News

1. A couple of Democratic state legislators tell me that while everything looked stable from the outside when the state house Democrats publicly announced their leadership team late last month in the runup to the coming legislative session—going with nearly the same lineup as last year—there was actually a power struggle behind the scenes.

The issue? Female legislators felt they weren't well represented. Four of the five top spots went to men.

The one woman named to leaderships is Rep. Kris Lytton (D-40, Anacortes); she will be the majority floor leader. She takes over from Rep. Tami Green (D-28, Tacoma), who gave up her house seat in a failed run for the state senate. 

The other leaders, keeping their jobs from last session, are: Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43, Wallingford), speaker; Rep. Pat Sullivan (D-47, Covington), majority leader; Rep. Eric Pettigrew (D-37, SE Seattle), majority caucus chair; and Rep. Kevin Van De Wege (D-24, Sequim), majority whip.

That's a 20 percent showing. Women make up about 38 percent of the house Democratic caucus.

UPDATE: A few more leadership postions have been filled since the main team was announced in late November. Two of the spots went to men and one to a woman. 

The jobs are: Rep. Jim Moeller (D-49, Vancouver), speaker pro tempore designate; Rep. Tina Orwall (D-33, Des Moines), deputy speaker pro tempore designate; and Rep. Larry Springer (D-45, Kirkland), deputy majority leader.

Those numbers bring female representation up to 25 percent. 

There's a 20 percent showing of women at the leadership table while women make up about 35 percent of the house Democratic caucus.

2. It's not only locals who think the tunnel fiasco is, well, a fiasco. The $4.25 billion project is currently winning StreetsBlog USA's  poll for "Worst Highway Boondoggle" with a commanding 47 percent out of the five projects to choose from including a six-lane urban highway in Dallas, Texas and a double-decker highway expansion in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

You can go here to vote.

And while you're voicing your opinion on the tunnel, you can scroll down to the "Best Urban Street Transformation" and cast your vote for the new protected bike lanes on Broadway; the project is currently coming in fourth place.

3. Speaking of the tunnel, I was out of town when WSDOT gave its evidently facacta report to city council on December 15.

In reviewing the hearing, one thing that jumped out at me—as opposed to the "70 percent is done" claim—was the news that came at the end of the nearly three-hour hearing when WSDOT Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement program manager Todd Trepanier told the council, in response to questions about the need for transit mitigation if there's a major lapse between the viaduct coming down and the tunnel coming on line, that the legislature had decided not to put any more dollars toward transit mitigation for the project.


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