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NW Fishletter #289, June 3, 2011

[7] Rockefeller Leaving Washington Senate For Power Council

Sen. Phil Rockefeller (D-Bainbridge Island), the prime sponsor of the new law shutting down the Centralia coal-fired plant by 2025, has been appointed to the Northwest Power and Conservation Council effective July 1, 2011, Gov. Chris Gregoire's office announced May 25.

He replaces Dick Wallace, who announced earlier this year that he would be leaving the council. Rockefeller will join Tom Karier as one of Washington's two representatives on the council.

His appointment seems a natural segue from his interests in the Legislature. There, he has served as a gatekeeper in the Democratic-dominated Senate for energy and environmental measures since 2008, when he was appointed chair of the Water, Energy and Telecommunications Committee. From 2009 through 2011, he served as chair of the successor committee on Environment, Water and Energy.

To fill the remainder of his second four-year term through 2012 as the senator of the 23rd Legislative District, the Kitsap County commission will select a successor from a candidate list submitted by the county's Democratic Central Committee.

Rockefeller told TVW on Wednesday that he favors Rep. Christine Rolfes for the role--she represents the county in the state's House--and that he was confident she "would carry on my work in education, environment, and transportation." Rolfes' office told NW Fishletter on Thursday that she will seek the appointment.

Rockefeller earned an undergraduate degree from Yale and a law degree from Harvard Law School, subsequently moving to Washington state, where he joined Weyerhaeuser's law department. He later worked in several federal positions principally focused on education policy between 1967 and 2005, stationed both in Washington, D.C., and in the state.

He then served 12 years in the state Legislature, first as a representative for three two-year terms from 1999 to 2005, and then as a senator starting in 2005. -Rick Adair

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