Rep. Skyler Rude sponsors bill to eliminate gender-based barriers to state and county political party elections

Rep. Skyler Rude, R-Walla Walla, has introduced a bill that would eliminate opposite-sex requirements for major political party elections at the state and county level.

At the county level, voters are divided into precincts. In each precinct, voters who identify as either Democrat or Republican elect precinct committee officers (PCOs) every two years to represent individual precincts within the county. The PCOs in each county make up the County Central Committee for their political party, setting party platforms, endorsing local candidates, raising funds, and performing other county-level party functions. Each County Central Committee is required by state law to select a chair and vice chair of opposite sexes.

Moreover, each County Central Committee is required to select two individuals of opposite sexes to serve on the State Committee of its political party.

Rude's bill, House Bill 1190, would eliminate this rule, allowing PCOs to select committee chairs and vice chairs, and committeemen and committeewomen regardless of the state's current gender-based requirements.

“When I first started to get involved with local politics, I was surprised to learn county and state parties still must abide by this archaic requirement,” said Rude. “PCOs should be able to select their party leadership based on merit, regardless of the person's gender.”

Rude formerly served as chairman of the Walla Walla County Republican Party.

The bill, which has received bipartisan support, is scheduled for a public hearing in the House State Government and Tribal Relations Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 23, at 1:30 p.m.

The 2019 legislative session began Jan. 14 and is scheduled to last 105 days.


Washington State House Republican Communications