Appleton on the attack for reform in Legislature

Sherry Appleton -
Sherry Appleton
— image credit:

OLYMPIA — Though she is only half-way through her first biennium, chances are that even Sherry Appleton’s most fierce political adversaries across the aisle aren’t viewing her as a naive freshman legislator.

The political savvy and legislative know-how that Appleton (D-Poulsbo) gained in 11 years as a lobbyist in Washington’s capital was best exemplified when, unlike most of her first-year counterparts, she avoided taking on a bipartisan-backed bill with almost guaranteed passage.

Instead, she took on one of the most controversial topics around: Health care reform.

“For freshman, they try to make your first bill your easiest bill,” Appleton said. “And what happened was that this was a very controversial bill.”

That piece of legislation, house bill 1168, would authorize the state board of pharmacy to regulate non-resident Canadian pharmacies, following a line of other bills aimed at importing prescription drugs from Canada to drive down health care costs. A centerpiece of Appleton’s campaign promises, the bill prompted more than a dozen floor speeches both for and against and debate raged for 40 minutes.

In her own speech, Appleton attempted to appease her opponents, who say the issue will hurt economically the American pharmaceutical industry.

“I think we all want senior citizens to be able to buy from American pharmacies,” Appleton said, citing her own mother as a beneficiary of Canadian imports. “But unfortunately, they can’t.”

The divide on the issue turned out to be almost purely partisan, the Democrats in favor and the Republicans against. Rep. Bev Woods (R-Poulsbo), the other 23rd district house member with Appleton, was also largely critical of the importation concept.

“There’s prescription drug bills that will do nothing to help (make) affordable prescription drugs for the citizens of this state,” Woods countered. “(HB 1168) isn’t even legal. How in the world does Washington state think that it can go to Canada and regulate pharmacies in another country?”

But Appleton’s majority party won the vote, with the bill passing 54-41. The bill now moves into the senate, where it will face a more ferocious battle due to a tighter partisan gap.

Diversified bill portfolio

Though it is the first she’s passed, that bill is only the tip of the iceberg of a busy Appleton agenda. Also the assistant majority whip in the house, Appleton’s sponsored bills include every

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the Oct 21
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates