Thursday, April 27, 2006

Finkbeiner will not seek re-election to Senate

OLYMPIA…Senator Bill Finkbeiner announced today that he will not run again for his Senate seat this fall. Finkbeiner serves the 45th District which includes Kirkland, Redmond, Woodinville, Duvall and Sammamish.

"The first word that comes to mind when I think about representing my district in the Legislature is 'grateful'," said Finkbeiner, who was first elected to the House of Representatives fourteen years ago. "I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve in the Legislature, but at this time my family and I have agreed that the time is right to step aside and give someone else an opportunity to represent the district as Senator while I turn my attention to a career outside of politics."

Finkbeiner was elected to the House of Representatives in 1992 at the age of 23 and elected to the Senate in 1994. He served as majority leader in 2005 and as far as anyone can remember was the youngest majority leader in the state's history. He also served as minority leader in 2004, deputy majority leader in 2003, and Republican assistant floor leader from 1999 to 2000. Finkbeiner has served on many Senate committees, including Education (served for 8 years, 4 years as Ranking Republican); Energy and Utilities (now Water, Energy & Environment) (Committee Chair); and Transportation. He currently serves on three Senate committees: Transportation; Financial Institutions, Housing & Consumer Protections; and Rules.

"One of the things I am most proud of is how I was able to impact the Legislature itself and make it run a bit differently." Finkbeiner said. "I was especially pleased that during my term as majority leader, only one bill out of 776 passed on a party line vote. The rest passed with what I like to call a 'philosophical majority.'

"Also, when I arrived in 1993, we had no e-mail and the bill reports weren't online. I knew that putting these tools in place would give the public much greater access to their lawmakers and the legislative process. So I pushed hard for us to get them up and running, and we did it. When I look today at how easily citizens can access their legislators through e-mail or look up a bill and come to Olympia to testify on it, I am proud to have been part of that cultural change.

"As for what's next, I will continue the privilege of representing the people of the 45th District until the end of the year. I will also continue pursuing my master's degree. It's an exciting time in my life, and I am looking forward to putting everything I have learned in school, the private sector and the Legislature to use in future endeavors.

"Finally, I want to bid a fond farewell to all the senators I have served with, but especially to the members of my caucus. They have been tremendous to work with and work for. It has been a real honor to serve with them."

Finkbeiner said he would announce his future plans in the next few weeks. His term ends Dec. 31.

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