Another member of Clark County’s legislative delegation has been elected to a party leadership position as lawmakers prepare for the upcoming session.
State Rep. Monica Stonier on Tuesday was elected majority floor leader for the House Democratic Caucus.
The Vancouver Democrat said the position is responsible for making sure that her caucus is working toward its priorities. As floor leader, she’s tasked with planning for bills to be brought for a vote, she said, and managing floor debates. She also said she’ll help Democratic representatives prepare for floor debate and speeches, among other duties.
“One of the things that floor leaders really need is to work closely with the Republicans to keep decorum and debate respectful and moving along,” Stonier said.
Stonier said she has “strong relationships” with Republican legislators and that the bulk of the legislation she’s sponsored has had a co-sponsor from across the aisle. She said that extends to state Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver, who earlier this week was elected chair of his caucus.
“We interface naturally because we work across the aisle for our region,” she said.
The November election saw Democrats expand their majorities in the Legislature, and they will hold at least 57 of the House’s 98 seats. Stonier said that with retirements, her caucus will have about a dozen new members that she’ll prioritize getting up to speed.
As the parties organized their caucuses for the upcoming session, House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, announced that he would retire next spring. The announcement means his replacement would be elected by the chamber during the 105-day legislative session that begins in January.
“Yeah, I do have interest in running for speaker,” said Stonier, confirming a report in The Seattle Times that she was a possible candidate. “I care a great deal about representing all of Washington state.”
Although Clark County and Southwest Washington have produced multiple speakers and speakers pro tempore, Stonier, if elected, would be the first woman and first person of color to occupy the post.
Facing no opponent, Stonier was elected in November to a second term representing the west Vancouver-based 49th Legislative District. During the last legislative session, Stonier was elected deputy majority whip. Previously, she served one term in the 17th Legislative District.