Ann Rivers announces intent to leave state senate

New job with city of Longview leads to veteran lawmaker’s decision to step aside

LA CENTER —  Sen. Ann Rivers issued a statement today (Oct. 4) on her legislative website stating she intends to step down from the 18th District position in the state Senate, after accepting the position of community development director for the city of Longview.

Sen. Ann Rivers
Sen. Ann Rivers

Rivers, (Republican, La Center), begins her new job this week. She hasn’t settled on when her final day as a senator will be, but expects it will come before the 2022 legislative session begins in January.

“I wasn’t looking for a job – this one found me,” Rivers explained. “The more I was drawn to this opportunity, the more it seemed clear there would be a choice to make. Being a senator is officially a part-time position, but it becomes full-time every January when a new session begins. Two full-time jobs would be a lot to handle, even if only for a matter of months each year.

“Stepping away will be hard, because serving the people of the 18th District has been among the great privileges of my life. At the same time, I have long-standing ties to Longview and am very excited that my next role as a public servant will begin there.”

Rivers was elected as an 18th District legislator in January 2011, serving two sessions in the House of Representatives before her appointment to the Senate in June 2012. She won a full four-year Senate term in 2012 and was reelected in 2016 and 2020.

She has also served on the Senate Republican Caucus’ senior leadership team during a majority of her time in the Senate, moving up to the number-two position of caucus chair for the 2021 session.

Rivers’ major accomplishments as a legislator include bringing order to Washington’s laws on medical and recreational marijuana; updating the state’s law on distracted driving; addressing a significant backlog of rape-kit processing; and negotiating the landmark overhaul of the state’s outdated education-funding system, in connection with the state Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling.

Senate Republican Leader John Braun offered this response to today’s announcement by Sen. Rivers.

“Having served with Senator Rivers for nine years, from a neighboring district, I know how hard she has worked for the people of the 18th District, and our state,’’ Braun said. “I also appreciate how she has been fearless in taking on our state’s most difficult problems, like the successful multi-year effort to come up with a new funding approach for our public K-12 schools. Because of her focus on finding solutions without concern for who receives the credit, she will leave the Senate with a legacy of policies that are important to the people of our state.

“I was very much looking forward to another year with Senator Rivers as the chair of our caucus, because of the experience and the energy she’s brought to that position,’’ Braun stated. “At the same time, this is a great opportunity for her to take on an important local leadership role in our region. We will deeply miss her leadership, but wish her the very best in this new chapter of her life.”

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