The Washington State Senator for much of North Clark County won’t be serving during the 2022 legislative session, as Ann Rivers announced she will resign from the seat to take a job in Longview.
In an Oct. 4 release, Rivers announced she would step down from her seat in the Legislature, as she begins her new job as the Longview community development director this week. As of the release, Rivers, R-La Center, did not have an exact date for her last day, but she said it would likely be before the 2022 legislative session begins in January.
“I wasn’t looking for a job — this one found me,” Rivers stated in the release. “The more I was drawn to this opportunity, the more it seemed clear there would be a choice to make.”
Though the Legislature meets for only a few months every year, when Olympia is in session it becomes a full-time job, Rivers said, which would be difficult to handle.
“Stepping away will be hard, because serving the people of the 18th District has been among the great privileges of my life,” Rivers said in the release. “At the same time, I have longstanding ties to Longview and am very excited that my next role as a public servant will begin there.”
Rivers has represented the 18th Legislative District, which contains the cities of Battle Ground, Ridgefield and La Center, since 2011 when she was elected to the Washington State House of Representatives. She received an appointment to the state Senate the following year, winning that year’s election and subsequent elections in 2016 and 2020.
Rivers also served as part of the Senate Republican Caucus during her tenure, including as caucus chair in 2021.
The release listed a number of accomplishments Rivers had as a legislator, including work on medical and recreational cannabis law reform, distracted driving, addressing a rape kit backlog, and negotiating state school funding required by the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.
Following Rivers’ announcement, Senate Republican Leader John Braun, R-Centralia, said the exiting senator’s leadership would be “deeply miss(ed.)”
“Having served with Senator Rivers for nine years, from a neighboring district, I know how hard she has worked for the people of the 18th District, and our state,” Braun said in a statement.
He appreciated Rivers’ work to take on the “state’s most difficult problems,” like school funding.
“Because of her focus on finding solutions without concern for who receives the credit, she will leave the Senate with a legacy of policies that are important to the people of our state,” Braun said. “I was very much looking forward to another year with Senator Rivers as the chair of our caucus, because of the experience and the energy she’s brought to that position. At the same time, this is a great opportunity for her to take on an important local leadership role in our region.”
Rivers’ successor will be decided by the Clark County Council. The seat will be up for election in 2022 to fill out the term, per state law.