Ann Rivers

This article is about Washington politician. For the American author, see Anne Rivers Siddons.

Ann Rivers
Member of the Washington Senate
from the 18th district
Assumed office
June 25, 2012
Preceded by Joe Zarelli
Freeholder for Clark County's 1st district
In office
November 27, 2013  May 2014
Preceded by office created
Succeeded by office abolished
Majority whip of the Washington State Senate
Assumed office
January 3, 2013
Member of the Washington House of Representatives
from the 18th legislative district, position 1
In office
January 2011  June 25, 2012
Preceded by Jaime Herrera Beutler
Succeeded by Liz Pike
Personal details
Born 1968 (age 4748)
Political party Republican
Residence La Center, Washington
Website Official

Ann Rivers (born 1968) is an American politician, who has served as a Republican member of the Washington State Senate since she was appointed to represent the 18th district in 2011, upon the resignation of Joe Zarelli. Prior to this she was a member of the Washington House of Representatives. In her first full term, a Majority Coalition Caucus was formed, taking control away from the Democrats in the state senate. Rivers was appointed to be majority whip for the session, a rare appointment for a freshman senator. She won re-election for another four-year term in 2012, with 67% of the vote against 32% for her opponent, Ralph Schmidt.

Prior to her holding elected office, Rivers led AMR Consulting, a political consulting firm which aided candidates in their elections for offices, as well as providing political consultation to corporate clients. In 2007, she was on the short list for candidates to be chosen to replace Richard Curtis in the state house, but Jaime Herrera Beutler was chosen instead. Later, Rivers succeeded Herrera Beutler in the house after the latter's election to the United States Congress.

Early life and career

Rivers was born in 1968 in Michigan.[1] She earned a bachelor's degree in political science from Central Michigan University.[2][3] After graduating in 1990, Rivers worked as a 6th grade teacher. In 2002, she returned to school and graduated from Lewis and Clark College with a secondary teaching certificate.[4][5]

Though she didn't run for office herself until much later, she helped Bill Williams in his election to the Alaska legislature in 1992, and became his chief of staff. During that election, she founded AMR Consulting, a public relations and government affairs consulting firm, which helped in many political campaigns and provided political consultation for corporations.[6][7] When Representative Richard Curtis resigned from state house in 2007, Rivers was considered by the Clark County and Lewis County commissions to be a replacement but Jaime Herrera Beutler was chosen instead.[8]

State House of Representatives

Rivers was elected to the Washington House of Representatives in 2010 succeeding Herrera Beutler after Beutler's election to the United States Congress. As a state representative, Rivers was the assistant whip for the House Republican Caucus. She also served on the House's Business and Financial Services Committee, Judiciary Committee, Transportation Committee and Rules Committee.[9] Her website listed communication as being vital as a state representative.[10][11]

In January 2011, Rivers was selected to deliver the Republican response to governor Christine Gregoire's State of the State address. In the address, she listed economic recovery and employment as well as compromise with Gregoire as being the top priorities of her party.[12]

In February, Rivers submitted a bill to provide more funding for food banks and other charitable causes. The bill authorized public utilities to solicit and collect donations from customers to be put towards food programs for the poor. It also made the donations received by utilities separate from gross income, allowing for it to be tax-free. The bill passed in the State House in Feb. 2011 but failed to make it to the Senate floor.[13]

State senate

Appointment and elections

In June 2012, about 18 months into her term as a representative, county commissioners appointed Rivers to the state senate to replace Joseph Zarelli, who resigned after 17 years in the senate.[14] Rivers won re-election in the 2012 election to a four-year term, with 67% of the vote, to 32% for her opponent, Ralph Schmidt.[15][16][16][17] She outraised by 30-1, with $150,000, to just $5,000 for Schmidt. Rivers' ideas for improving the economy include making the climate friendlier for business. Her plan includes reducing the burden of worker's compensation costs for businesses, reducing regulations, and reducing permitting fees.[8]


Rivers has strongly spoken against the implementation of plans to replace the Interstate Bridge.

Rivers has spoken strongly about the Columbia River Crossing I-5 bridge replacement, saying that she disagreed with most everything about the current plan, and that it does not do enough to solve the problem. Willamette Week of Portland labeled Rivers "The CRC killer" for her leadership role in the opposition to the proposed megaproject.[8][18] Due to their opposition to the project, in July 2013, Governor Jay Inslee labeled both Rivers and Senator Don Benton from the neighboring 17th district "a brick wall to economic progress and CRC." Speaking to a group of CRC supports, "The road to this bridge runs through two senators from this region. Those two senators have stymied any progress on this bridge project. … Until that changes, there’s not a lot I or you can do about that." [19]

In early 2012, Rivers was selected for the Council of State Governments for the Western Legislative Academy. Out of 93 applicants, 39, including Rivers, were chosen. The academy is a training institute for lawmakers in their first four years of service.[20]

In November 2012, shortly after entering office, Rivers was appointed to the Republican leadership as the minority whip.[21] When the Majority Coalition Caucus was formed, taking control of the Senate away from the Democrats, Rivers was promoted to majority whip. It is rare for a freshman senator to be appointed to party leadership.[22][23]

Rivers introduced a bill in February 2013 to exempt nonprofit shooting clubs from paying sales and use taxes when they buy clay pigeons. The bill is cosponsored by Senators Don Benton and Pam Roach.[24] Earlier in February, Rivers also introduced legislation attempting to lower restrictions on initiatives in Washington State, commenting, "If the people take the time to sign their name and say this is something we need to have a look at, we ought to respect that." Along with cosponsors Roach and Benton, Tim Eyman also is cosponsoring the legislation.[25] In March 2013, Rivers reprimanded senate Democrats for taking advantage of Janéa Holmquist Newbry's departure from the senate floor to feed her newborn son, leaving the Democrats in temporary control of the senate floor. Immediately after she left, Democrat David Frockt attempted to pass a bill through the floor. Senator Rivers commented, "I was ashamed that in this day and age they thought they could do that, driving a wedge between a mother and her baby like that." Commenting on Democrats' claim to be the party of women and minorities, Rivers said, "Their actions speak so loud that I can't hear what they are saying."[23] As part of her duties, Rivers has also hosted high-school aged pages for the Washington State Senate Page Program.[26]

Rivers introduced legislation to increase taxes on medical marijuana. Washington is one of only a few states that has legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational use. Recreational marijuana has a 25% tax for consumers. However, medical marijuana does not have any taxes. Rivers' legislation would also force medical marijuana clinics to obtain more permits and waivers.[27]

In June 2013, fellow state senator Don Benton filed a complaint against Rivers, claiming she had broken a senate floor rule by swearing at him during a floor discussion. Benton also claimed that Rivers had screamed at him on one other occasion, during a Republican caucus. He claimed that he had felt physically threatened, saying, "It was a very uncomfortable feeling. I have been on the receiving end of many heated comments over the years, but I have never before felt the threat of physical violence." Rivers responded with an apology; he took issue with some of the wording in the apology and he filed the complaint.[28] Many have come out in support of Rivers, who claims that Benton was harassing her, adding she will, "stand my ground against anyone who attempts to bully, intimidate or threaten me." Some have labeled Benton a hypocrite, as he recently lifted sanctions against Pam Roach, who had been seen screaming on the floor and had mistreated staff.[28][29] In a January 2014 decision, officials in the Washington State Legislature have decided both Senators were at fault for the spat. They determined that Benton had harassed Rivers, which provoked her. On the decision, Rivers stated, "I have to conclude that he was trying to bait me into this reaction, which unfortunately he did.”[30]

At the end of June 2014, Rivers joined lawmakers including Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen on a state trade mission to Taiwan. Rivers' district sells more fishing licenses than any other in the state and she would like “to promote our area as a destination for sport fishing.”[31]

Clark County Politics


In 2013, Rivers ran for a freeholder position in Clark County's 1st district. The freeholders are responsible for drafting a new county charter that will, with voter's approval, turn Clark County into a Charter County. 123 people filed for the 15 freeholder seats.[32] The primary election, held August 5, was noted for its low turnout (under 20%), although Rivers garnered enough votes to move on to the general election.[33] In the November 6 election, she was elected with 46% of the vote in a 5 candidate field[34] and took office on November 26.[35][36]

The Board of Freeholders submitted a home rule charter on May 27 which put it on the ballot in the November election.[37] In the November election, the charter was approved with 53% of the vote.[38]

Candidacy for Clark County Chair

In late 2014 and early 2015, Rivers briefly considered running to be the chair of Clark County, a new position created with the home rule charter that Rivers worked to pass. There is no official rule against serving both as the chair and a state senator, but there were concerns about Rivers' ability to balance the two offices.[39] In December 2014, Rivers officially announced she would run for the office. On March 2, 2015, The Columbian reported Rivers would likely be withdrawing from the race later that week.[40] That was confirmed when Rivers released a statement later that day that said Rivers would not be a candidate. Rivers cited the time commitment and desire to stay in the State Senate as reasons for her withdrawal. She was considered the front runner for the office.[41]

Personal life

Rivers currently resides in La Center, Washington, with her husband, Fred Rivers, a senior account manager for NALCO, and their two children.[42][43]


  1. Garrison, Greg. "Candidate Profile: Ann Rivers, 18th District State Legislature". TDN. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  2. Rivers, Ann. "About Ann". Washington State Legislature.
  3. "State Rep. Ann Rivers". The Columbian.
  4. Garrison, Greg (August 4, 2010). "Candidate Profile: Ann Rivers, 18th District State Legislature". The Daily News. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  5. Mathieu, Stevie (July 5, 2013). "Teachers quiz Pike at open house". The Columbian.
  6. "Rivers, Russell should move forward in 18th District race". The Daily News (Longview).
  7. Garrison, Greg. "Candidate Profile: Ann Rivers, 18th District State Legislature". TDN. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  8. 1 2 3 Mathieu, Steve (8 October 2012). "Rivers holds big fundraising lead over Schmidt in 18th District race". The Columbian. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  9. "Meet Ann". Ann Rivers for Senate. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  10. Rivers, Ann. "Ann Rivers website". WA STATE REPUBLICANS.
  11. Mathieu, Stevie (June 18, 2012). "Rivers nearly a lock to succeed Zarelli". The Columbian. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  12. Rivers, Ann (January 11, 2011). "Rep. Ann Rivers delivers GOP response to state of the state address". The Columbian. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  13. Durbin, Kathie (February 23, 2011). "House approves Rivers' anti-hunger bill". The Columbian. Retrieved 7 January 2014.
  14. Associated Press (25 June 2012). "Ann Rivers replaces Zarelli in Wash. state Senate". KATU. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  15. Reed, Sam. "Washington Secretary of State". Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  16. 1 2 "Ann Rivers". Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  17. "November 06, 2012 General Election - Legislative District 18". Washington State Secretary of State. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  18. Damewood, Andrea (8 March 2013). "Bridge End, Washington Republican Ann Rivers, the Bridge Killer". Willamette Week.
  19. Mathieu, Steve (July 26, 2013). "Governor calls Benton, Rivers a brick wall to economic progress and CRC (with video)". The Columbian.
  20. "Senator Ann Rivers chosen for 2012 Western Legislative Academy". Daily Insider. 2012.
  21. Staff (November 29, 2013). "Rivers, Benton, Moeller picked for party leadership roles". The Columbian.
  22. "2013-2014 Washington State Senate Leadership". Washington State Senate.
  23. 1 2 Huston, Warner Todd (March 15, 2013). "WA STATE DEMS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF NURSING MOTHER TO RUSH VOTE ON BILL". Breibart.
  24. Copeland, Joe (February 20, 2013). "The Daily Troll: Gas tax increase gets a boost. Step away from that computer, Mr. County Executive. Starbucks' Manga Man". Crosscut.
  25. Wiseman, Lucas (February 5, 2013). "Rivers, Eyman team on bill to limit interference in initiative process". The Columbian.
  26. "Hockinson High sophomore serves as page for Sen. Ann Rivers". The Reflector. February 6, 2013.
  27. Mathieu, Steve (April 8, 2013). "Rivers bill would tax medical pot". The Columbian. Retrieved 23 July 2013.
  28. 1 2 Hidle, Erik (June 20, 2013). "Sen. Benton files complaint against colleague Rivers". The Columbian.
  29. "Benton merely a Senate bully". The Olympian. July 5, 2013.
  30. Mathieu, Stevie (January 6, 2014). "Report: Benton, Rivers both at fault for spats in the Legislature". The Columbian.
  31. "Sen. Rivers joins state trade mission to Taiwan". The Columbian. June 20, 2014.
  32. Hidle, Erik (August 9, 2013). "123 file for 15 freeholder spots". The Columbian. Retrieved 16 August 2013.
  33. Hidle, Erik (August 15, 2013). "Big ballot puts Clark County at 'tipping point'". The Columbian.
  34. "November 5, 2013 General Election". Clark County Auditor. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  35. "Frequently Asked Questions" (PDF). Clark County Elections Department. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  36. Hidle, Erik (November 6, 2013). "Republicans likely to hold edge on freeholders board". The Columbian. Retrieved 15 November 2013.
  37. "Board of Freeholders". Clark County, Washington. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  38. "November 4, 2014 General Election".
  39. Dake, Lauren (November 28, 2014). "Senator Rivers and Chairwoman Rivers?". The Columbian. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  40. Gillespie, Kaitlin (March 2, 2015). "Sen. Ann Rivers could pull from Clark County chair race". The Columbian.
  41. Brancaccio,, Lou (March 2, 2015). "Press Talk: Rivers out in run for county chair". The Columbian. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
  42. "Senator Ann Rivers's Voting Records Marriage, Family, and Children". Vote Smart.
  43. "Meet Ann Rivers". Friends of Ann Rivers.

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