Rivers promoted to Senate Republican leadership team, as whip

The state’s Republican senators today unanimously chose Sen. Ann Rivers as caucus whip. It’s a prominent position on the Senate Republican leadership team that is especially important when the full Senate is debating and voting on legislation.

“I’m honored that my colleagues have entrusted me with a leadership position so early in my time as a senator,” said Rivers, R-La Center. She was appointed 18th Legislative District senator in late June after former Sen. Joseph Zarelli stepped down after 17 years of service.

Rivers had served as assistant Republican whip in the House of Representatives and already knows what she is expected to do in the Senate.

“Things can get hectic out on the floor of the chamber when bills come up for votes,” Rivers explained. “Sometimes members have to be away from their seats because they’re meeting with constituents or other legislators to discuss bills. A big part of my job will be to know where all 23 Republican senators are at a given time, and to get them to the floor to vote if possible – or ask that they be excused. “Although most of the matters that come before the Senate are non-controversial and not particularly partisan, there will be times when every vote is critical. Another part of the whip’s job is to count the votes on the major issues and help the caucus floor leader alert our members when the crucial votes are coming up.”

As a member of the leadership team Rivers will also have a voice in setting Senate Republican priorities for 2013. “We’ll be sitting down very soon to map things out for the upcoming session; considering how our caucus clearly is leading the way in terms of pursuing smarter budgeting and government reform, I expect that emphasis will continue,” Rivers said.

Rivers and her fellow Senate Republicans came to Olympia one day ahead of the Legislature’s traditional pre-session committee meetings, which will take place Thursday and Friday at the Capitol. The meetings are to review the effect of decisions from previous sessions and plan for the 2013 legislative session, which will convene Monday, Jan. 14, and last 105 days.