House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox: ‘It is time’

The following email from House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox was sent to members of the Washington State Legislature on the afternoon of April 23, 2023:

Dear Friends,

Today is the right time for me to end my time as Leader of the House Republicans.

I’ve served in seven different versions of the Washington House Republican Caucus and this version of the caucus is undoubtedly the highest quality caucus of all. The dedicated and deeply competent men and women who have joined our group in the last two elections give me great hope for the future, and the leaders who occupy positions throughout the caucus give me absolute confidence that my replacement, when he or she is named, will accomplish far more than I can.

The position as Leader of the House Republicans involves far more than a great corner office and press conferences. Our caucus employs a large number of deeply dedicated staff members who pour their heart and soul into their service, and I am very grateful for their help over the last five years. The Leader also becomes profoundly involved in the lives of our elected members and all the unique challenges that life in the public eye brings for them. Few people know just how much pain and exaltation comes with this kind of service and I am glad to have known the happiness that many have achieved and sorry for the times when I failed to help them achieve more.

The Washington State Legislature is intended to be a part-time citizen Legislature and I don’t believe it should be a career. I’ve tried hard to make my years here productive for the people of the 2nd Legislative District and, in my leadership roles, for all the other people of Washington. This is also a partisan job and I’ve said in the past that if my leadership didn’t result in better results and a more balanced Legislature for our state then it was time for a change. That time is now.

I believe it’s also time for generational change in our politics in a broader sense. Experience is valuable in government, but it also has a shelf life. I hope that all across our state and country we can recognize the value of a newer generation of leaders who will have less investment in the antagonisms that have consumed the last years.

I am grateful to everyone who has helped and supported me and for all those people, the best of friends in my experience, who have honestly advised me when I was wrong. I am encouraged this year, despite the partisan rancor in some policy areas, that we are also achieving amazing collaborative results in others, especially in our Ag and Natural Resources, Transportation and Capital Budget committees. I am 100% sure that our state WILL have more balanced government in the future and I hope that by facilitating future leaders I can help us reach that day.

This letter takes effect upon the election of a new Leader of the Washington House Republican Caucus, which I hope will take place by the end of May.

JT Wilcox
Washington State House Minority Leader
2nd Legislative District

Watch: House Republican Leader J.T. Wilcox joins Mike McClanahan of TVW’s The Impact to discuss his announcement.