GOP’s top budget writer in state Senate resigns



OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — The top Republican budget writer in the state Senate resigning his seat this week.

Earlier this month, Sen. Joe Zarelli of Ridgefield announced he wouldn’t run for re-election, but it was assumed he would finish out his term. However, on Tuesday Zarelli announced that Thursday would be his last day.

He says it was time for him to “start focusing on where I’m going next and to begin that journey.”

Zarelli led a budget revolt in the state Senate this year that helped drive an overhaul in some state policies, such as curtailing early retirement benefits and requiring new rules for balanced budgets. He has held the budget-leading role for the Senate Republicans since 2004.

County Republicans in the 18th Legislative District will recommend names to county commissioners, who will ultimately appoint a replacement to the Senate to fill out the rest of Zarelli’s term.