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Schoesler steps down as Senate minority leader


Last updated 12/3/2020 at 12:42pm

RITZVILLE — A local lawmaker is stepping down from his leadership position in the state Senate, but he is not retiring.

Sen. Mark G. Schoesler, R-Ritzville, confirmed Tuesday morning, Dec. 1, that he won’t be seeking re-election as the Senate minority leader.

“It’s real simple,” Schoesler said of his decision. “I’d like to turn my cellphone office and my email off for a bit of time.”

With 65.34% of the vote, Schoesler won re-election to the Legislative District No. 9 senate seat on Nov. 3, topping Democrat Jenn Goulet.

Goulet, who moved out of district prior to the election, received 34.1%.

“I am not retiring,” the senator said. “I am not resigning. I simply decided it’s a good time to make a change.”

Schoesler said he’s been in the Legislature for 28 years, with the last 8 in a leadership capacity.

Schoesler served two years as Republican leader, then three years as majority caucus leader and the last three as minority leader.

While he’ll remain in the Senate, he doesn’t intend to seek another leadership post, although he hopes to continue to serve on the Ways and Means Committee.

Schoesler said the last nine months during the coronavirus outbreak have weighed heavily on him.

“It’s been all the work, but none of the fun,” he said. “I don’t see that getting any better in the next 6-12 months.”

Schoesler said he plans to spend more time on the family farm and with his grandchildren.

“When this crazy pandemic is over, I want to do more with my grandkids,” he said. . “I don’t want to have to put the caucus needs ahead of my kids or grandkids.”

He said he’s looking forward to going fishing at Williams Lake, and attending fairs and rodeos, again. He’s also looking forward to having more time at home on the family farm.

“My wife didn’t discourage me,” he said. “It is just better for the farm, better for the family. All in all, it’s the right move.”

Schoesler said Senate Republicans are planning a virtual meeting Wednesday or Thursday, Dec. 2 or 3, to select new leadership.”

Roger Harnack can be reached at


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