Dansel resigns Senate seat to take Trump job

S-E Editor

Republican Senator Brian Dansel, 33, has resigned from the Washington State Senate to take a position in President Donald Trump’s administration.

The Republic resident said he will be a special assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. He started his job last week.

“It has been the honor of my life to serve as your senator,” Dansel said. “This decision was not an easy one for me.”

An early supporter of President Trump, Dansel said he will do anything he can do to help the new Secretary of Agriculture. He hopes to be an effective voice for more logging and mining on U.S. Forest Service land.

Special election

Dansel was elected in a special election to the Senate representing Eastern Washington’s sprawling 7th District. Dansel, a former Ferry County Commissioner, was elected to a full four-year term the following year.

The announcement was made a day after it was announced that fellow Republican Senator Doug Ericksen had accepted a temporary position with the Environmental Protection Agency. He was named communications’ director for Trump’s transition team at EPA. But unlike Dansel, Ericksen says he has no plans to resign his State Senate post and will fly back and forth from Washington to Washington, D.C. as needed during Olympia’s 105-day legislative session.

Republicans tenuously control the Senate 25-24. With Dansel’s resignation, the two chambers will be tied until a replacement can be chosen for his seat.

On Sunday in Chewelah, reportedly nine candidates were scheduled to make their respective cases to Republican precinct officers from the five counties that comprise the district: Stevens, Spokane, Pend Oreille, Ferry and Okanogan counties.

The precinct officers were then charged with picking three favorites from that pool to recommend to the commissioners of each county.

Republicans and county commissioners were scheduled to meet on Monday in Colville to review the qualifications of potential candidates to replace Dansel.

The commissioners must choose a new senator by majority vote.

UPDATE: The commissioners chose Shelly Short, R-Addy (House of Representatives). Short was elected to the House in 2008.