August 7, 2009 Volume 110 Number 15

WSLC ranks state lawmakers

Washington State Labor Council has issued its 2009 ratings of state lawmakers, and the results make it clear it was a tough session for labor. Not one of the Washington Senate’s 49 members got a 100 percent rating, and just five of the 98 House members got 100 percent. Ratings were based on lawmakers’ votes on eight bills. WSLC had made it clear that the bills were of importance to labor. The report in all its detail is available at

The top-ranked House members, with 100 percent ratings, were Democrats Bob Hasegawa, Mark Miloscia, Mike Sells, Geoff Simpson, and Brendan Williams. Hasegawa is a former leader of Seattle-based Teamsters Local 174. Sells is secretary-treasurer of the Snohomish County Labor Council in Bremerton.

And top ratings in the Senate went to Democrats Craig Pridemore of Vancouver and Kevin Ranker of San Juan Island. Both had 88 percent ratings.

Bottom-ranked in the Senate — at 13 percent — were Seattle-area Democrat Al O’Brien and three Republicans.

Overall, Democrats had higher scores than Republicans, but in the Senate, the two top-rated Republicans (Don Benton and Pam Roach) had higher scores than the five lowest-rated Democrats. Tom Campbell of Pierce County was far and away the highest ranked House Republican, at 75 percent.

Several ranking choices turned the usual partisan comparison upside down. Most Democrats voted to approve the final state budget, while Republicans voted against it. WSLC opposed it, arguing it went too far cutting state services. Including the budget vote in the rankings meant all Republicans had at least 13 percent, while few Democrats could make 100 percent.

Also, this year’s ratings had a sort of giveaway – a bill expanding unemployment insurance that passed almost unanimously in both chambers. WSLC supported the important bill, which added $45 a week to unemployment checks, but including the bill in the ratings had the effect of bumping everyone’s ratings up slightly, and lessening the difference between ranked lawmakers.

SW Washington lawmakers' ratings:

District 17 (East Vancouver)

  • Sen. Don Benton (R) — 50%
  • Rep. Tim Probst (D) — 63%
  • Rep. Deb Wallace (D) — 38%

District 18 (Camas, Washougal, Battleground, Ridgefield, LaCenter, Kalama)

  • Sen. Joseph Zarelli (R) — 25%
  • Rep. Jaime Herrera (R) — 29%
  • Rep. Ed Orcutt (R) — 25%

District 19 (Longview, Kelso)

  • Sen. Brian Hatfield (D) — 50%
  • Rep. Dean Takko (D) — 63%
  • Rep. Brian Blake (D) — 75%

District 49 (West Vancouver)

  • Sen. Craig Pridemore (D) — 88%
  • Rep. Jim Jacks (D) — 88%
  • Rep. Jim Moeller (D) — 75%

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