Senate Deputy Majority Leader Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond) was appointed to a newly formed bipartisan Special Committee on Economic Recovery in the Washington State Senate to address the state’s long-term economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

The committee will hold its first meeting in June and is tasked with making recommendations on COVID-19 recovery legislation in advance of the 2021 legislative session, or before that if lawmakers are called back into a special session this year.

“The pandemic is not over by any means, but it is time to begin planning for a robust and sustained recovery for all Washingtonians,” Dhingra said. “Thanks to the hard work and ingenuity of many workers and businesses, our state is adapting at breakneck speed to the new conditions that the virus has brought, and it is imperative that we prepare legislation now to harness that innovation and adapt our systems for the long term.”

Sen. David Frockt (D-Seattle) will serve as the committee’s chair. Republican Sen. Randi Becker (R-Eatonville) will serve as vice chair. The seven-member committee will be comprised of four Democrats and three Republicans. Democratic senators on the committee include Sens. Christine Rolfes and Rebecca Saldana. In addition to Becker, Sen. Tim Sheldon and a yet-to-be-determined Republican will represent the Senate GOP.

“The purpose of this select committee is to look deeply at the ways in which the pandemic has structurally changed our state and regional economies, and to make recommendations on how we can come out stronger on the other side for workers and the businesses that employ them,” Frockt said. “The goal is to have this committee work together, without partisanship, in order to drive innovative, forward-looking ideas that can help the people in every corner of this state recover and prosper.”

The committee will hold work sessions in the coming months to hear from experts in a variety of fields, look at what other states are doing to recover from the outbreak and identify innovative ways to rejuvenate Washington’s economy and communities throughout the state.

The Senate’s Facilities and Operations Committee voted today to officially form the committee.