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GOP's top budget writer in state Senate resigns

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Associated Press
OLYMPIA -- The top Republican budget writer in the state Senate is resigning his seat this week.
Earlier this month, Sen. Joe Zarelli, of Ridgefield, announced that 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 three names to Clark and Cowlitz county commissioners, who will ultimately appoint a replacement from that list to the Senate to fill out Zarelli's term through Dec. 6. Under the state constitution, if a state lawmaker resigns before their term is up, the winner in the general election is sworn in once the election is certified on Dec. 6.
Republican state Rep. Ann Rivers is now campaigning to replace Zarelli, as is Democratic candidate Ralph Schmidt.
Story tags » Legislature

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