OLYMPIA -- Republicans have chosen Sen. Mark Schoesler as the party's leader in the Washington state Senate.
The GOP announced its new Senate leadership team Wednesday evening. The party is looking to work with two Democrats to form a working majority and control more of the chamber's activities.
Schoesler of Ritzville has been in the state Senate since 2007 and had been working this year as the Republican floor leader.
Former Senate Republican leader Mike Hewitt of Walla Walla recently announced he would not seek the GOP leader position for the coming session.
Schoesler represents the 9th Legislative District, which covers six counties in Eastern Washington, spanning from Whitman County in the east into Franklin County. The district includes west Pasco since redistricting this year.
Schoesler is a dryland wheat farmer and has made agricultural issues a priority.
He also is a member of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and served as part of the Senate Republican budget negotiating team in 2011-12.
The Republicans tapped Sen. Linda Evans Parlette of Wenatchee to serve as caucus chair and Auburn Sen. Joe Fain to serve as floor leader.
Sen. Jim Honeyford of Sunnyside was elected to serve as deputy floor leader, assisting Fain in his duties and helping the floor leader and whip to coordinate procedural votes with members.