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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

March 12, 2014 at 4:41 PM

Former state lawmaker resigns commission post after Senate objection

OLYMPIA — Former state Rep. Geoff Simpson resigned from the state Gambling Commission on Wednesday after hearing that some senators opposed his nomination because of an 2008 domestic-violence arrest.

Simpson, who served as a Democratic member of the state House between 2001 and 2010, had been appointed to the commission last August and started the job while awaiting Senate approval.

His resignation marks the first time an appointee of second-year Gov. Jay Inslee has left after getting opposition from the majority-Republican Senate. Inslee is a Democrat.

GOP senators, especially Janea Holmquist Newbry, said Tuesday they opposed the nomination due to the allegation that Simpson pushed his ex-wife while visiting their daughter at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

An assault charge ultimately was dismissed with prejudice.

“While I understand that Mr. Simpson contests some of the many allegations made against him, I have deep concerns about moving forward with his confirmation,” Holmquist Newbry said in a news release about her opposition. “It sends the wrong message for the Senate to simply green-light a gubernatorial nominee who has been charged with fourth-degree assault and has had multiple protection orders issued against him.”

Simpson initially fought back. In a Tuesday night letter to senators, he said, “The Legislature should err on the side of protecting potential victims. I think it’s very unfortunate however when people use dismissed allegations of the serious crime of domestic violence to help them carry out political undertakings. It is especially egregious when legislators, who swear to uphold the law engage in such behavior.”

But by Wednesday morning, Simpson had decided to resign.

Simpson informed the governor in a letter, according to Inslee spokesman David Postman.

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