Lawmaker had announced in October that she was stepping down, likely prior to the 2022 legislative session
Sen. Ann Rivers (Republican, 18th District) says she’s changed her mind about leaving the Washington State Legislature.
Rivers announced in October that she intended to step down from her position in the state Senate after she accepted the position of community development director for the city of Longview. Her report indicated that she would begin her new job the following week. She said that she hadn’t settled on what her final day as a senator would be, but that she expected it would come before the 2022 legislative session begins in January.
On Tuesday, however, Rivers wrote on Facebook that she has changed her mind because she will be able to continue in her role as a lawmaker while also fulfilling her duties at the city of Longview.
“I recognize it’s rare for someone to ‘unannounce’ a retirement before retiring, but I also didn’t know when I went to work for the city that continuing to finish my legislative term was even a possibility,” Rivers wrote in the Facebook message. Rivers said she plans to continue as senator “for the foreseeable future.’’
“In discussing this with my employer, they have given me both the space, and the grace, to continue on in the legislature without having to make the choice of giving up work I’m passionate about in the legislature – serving constituents and doing public policy work that impacts SW Washington. Moreover, I don’t have to give up the community development work I am enjoying in my professional life outside the legislature,’’ Rivers wrote on Facebook.
Rivers’ announcement also follows a Saturday appearance that she made in front of the Clark County 18th District precinct committee officers (PCOs). While speaking to the 18th District PCOs, Rivers refused to commit to finishing her current term, which runs through the end of 2024. She did indicate at that meeting that she did intend to remain in her role through the 2022 legislative session.
The leadership of the 18th District PCOs had been in conflict with the leadership of the Clark County Republican Party (CCRP) over the process to nominate three potential replacements for Rivers. In fact, at Saturday’s meeting, the 18th District PCOs nominated three individuals to be considered for Rivers’ replacement. Past precedent would have called for the CCRP Central Committee to ratify that list and then forward it to the members of the Clark County Council. The council would then decide which one would be appointed to fill Rivers’ seat.
Prior to Rivers’ reversal of her decision to retire from the state legislature, Clark County Today contacted Kurt Sacha, city manager at the city of Longview. Sacha said city leadership expected Rivers would be working full-time in her position with the city when she was hired.
“Allowances were made for Ann to be absent from Community Development while at work in her capacity as Senator for the 18th District,’’ Sacha wrote in an email response.
Sacha said Rivers would not be paid for hours not worked for the city while she was acting in her duties as a lawmaker. The salary range for the Longview Community Development director’s position is $8,582-$11,586 per month.
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.