OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, who announced earlier this year that he wouldn’t seek re-election as he started the process of becoming a priest, has been on an unpaid leave of absence and living in California since September.
His office on Tuesday confirmed that Habib, a Democrat who has served in the position since 2017, stopped drawing his $117,300 salary Sept. 1, but they said he is still serving as lieutenant governor.
Spokeswoman Kristina Brown said that Habib continues to be in regular phone contact with the office and approves any documents that go out under his signature, but she said that he was not available for any interviews.
“While he is still serving as Lt. Governor and is in no way setting aside his statutory or constitutional responsibilities, he feels that foregoing his compensation during these months is the right thing to do because of the budgetary crisis that the state is in,” Brown wrote in an email. “The public has experienced and will continue to experience no interruption in the services of the office.”
The second-highest position in the state, the lieutenant governor is best known as the president of the Senate and presides over that chamber during the legislative sessions, ensuring that protocol is followed and weighing in on parliamentary questions that arise during debate.