Buck draws key committee appointments

State Rep. Jim Buck has been appointed to the budget-writing House Appropriations Committee by Co-Speaker Clyde Ballard. The Joyce Republican will also serve on the powerful Rules Committee and return to a seat on the Natural Resources Committee when the Legislature begins the scheduled 105-day session, Jan. 8.

Buck, who is starting his fourth term representing the 24th District, was also recently elected to a major leadership position as chairman of the House Republican Caucus.

In announcing Buck's committee assignments, Ballard praised the veteran Olympic Peninsula lawmaker as a hard-working consensus-builder. "In addition to his role as a member of our caucus leadership team, Representative Buck will continue to be a dependable voice for his constituents on natural resource issues that are critical to the 24th District," said Ballard. "And Jim's advancement to the Appropriations Committee reflects our confidence in his work ethic and legislative skills. This will be an unusually demanding budget-writing year, and Jim's record of working closely with people from both sides of the aisle will be a positive asset in resolving tough issues."

When the 57th Legislature convenes Monday, the House will be tied at 49-49 for the second time in a row - the chamber evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. And as the principal author of the 1998 Salmon Restoration Act and the 1999 "Forests and Fish" timber practices law, Buck understands better than most the art of bridging partisan differences to bring people together. The bottom line, he said, is patience and perseverance.

"Two years of shared control in the legislative process showed us that finding common ground on controversial issues and diverse political perspectives is not only possible but imperative. It won't be easy," Buck said, "but I'm confident we will have a successful and productive session."

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