Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe, has been appointed a director of rural development for Washington state, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says.
OLYMPIA — Another Washington state senator is taking a job in the Trump administration.
Sen. Kirk Pearson, R-Monroe, has been appointed director of rural development for Washington state, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture news release.
The role as a political appointee for President Donald Trump involves working “to help improve the economy and quality of life in rural America,” the release says.
Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, confirmed that Pearson would be stepping down to take the federal post.
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“He will be leaving us soon,” said Schoesler, adding later: “He really cares about our rural areas. It’s a good fit.”
Senate Minority Leader Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, called Pearson “just a really good legislator and a decent man.”
But Pearson’s resignation, she added, “certainly provides an opening for us next year.”
Pearson, who chairs the Senate Natural Resources & Parks Committee, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
Earlier in his career, he was an assistant to then-U.S. Rep. Jack Metcalf. Pearson spent 12 years in the state House before voters in 2012 elected him to the Senate.
The 39th District seat includes parts of King, Skagit and Snohomish counties.
As of late Monday morning, the office of Gov. Jay Inslee had not yet received a resignation letter from Pearson, said spokeswoman Tara Lee.
Pearson would be the second state senator to step down for a federal appointment. Brian Dansel resigned from his seat earlier this year to become a special assistant to the U.S. secretary of agriculture in Washington, D.C.
This week’s news release by the agency also announced Dansel’s appointment as state director for the Farm Service Agency.
Also earlier this year Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, took a temporary position with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), though he kept his job in the Legislature.
After a stint along with Ericksen at the EPA, former GOP Sen. Don Benton of Vancouver, Washington, was appointed director of the U.S. Selective Service System.