Jerome Delvin to serve in Legislature until appointment made for senator's seat

Kristin M. Kraemer, Tri-City HeraldNovember 13, 2012 

State Sen. Jerome Delvin is hoping for a smooth and immediate transition to his successor so the 8th District won't be short representation in the upcoming legislative session.

A week after his election to the Benton County Commission, the Richland Republican, who's served in the Legislature for 18 years, said he expects to be sworn in Jan. 2.

That will start the clock for Delvin's resignation and the selection of his replacement, which can take up to 60 days, though he anticipates it will be quicker.

Delvin told the Herald he probably will serve in the state Senate the first few weeks of the 105-day session until the appointment is made. The session starts Jan. 14, so he will have to come home from Olympia every Tuesday for the commissioners' meeting.

"That's all right," Delvin said of juggling his dual roles for one month.

He is taking over the seat that long has been occupied by Commissioner Leo Bowman. Delvin defeated Richland School Board President Rick Jansons in the Nov. 6 election.

Delvin said that after he takes office in early January, he will send a letter to the governor saying his resignation will become official the second or third week of the legislative session -- likely Jan. 31 or Feb. 1.

He chose the end of January because he promised his legislative assistant he would keep working until she could find new work. Jeri May has been a "loyal" assistant for 16 years, has "done a great job," and he doesn't want her to miss out on a whole year of service if he leaves early, Delvin said.

He added that he "might even move up the date" of his departure from the Legislature if she finds full-time work before then.

Once the governor receives Delvin's resignation, the Benton County GOP's precinct committee officers can start the appointment process by voting on three nominees for the state Senate position. Those names will be submitted to the county commissioners, who will make the final choice.

As a commissioner then, Delvin will be able to vote on his replacement. He said he expects the board to pick a new Senator by the end of January, which means there should be little down time during the session.

Delvin has told the Herald he still wants to participate in legislative committee meetings in December and introduce a few bills of interest to his constituents. That includes working to get funding for a new building for Delta High School -- the Tri-Cities' science and math-focused high school -- along with issues like off-road vehicles, medical marijuana and renewable energy.

"Then maybe, hopefully, the Legislature will still take them up," he said.

The 8th District includes Richland, West Richland and most of Kennewick, and is completely contained within Benton County.

-- Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; kkraemer@tricityherald.com

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