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Bentons role in Trump administration still unclear

first_imgRetiring state Sen. Don Benton of Vancouver says he is headed to D.C. to serve on President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team.It’s the latest twist in the Republican’s long political career.Like President-elect Trump, Benton, who served two decades in the Legislature before declining to seek re-election, is a polarizing figure.He was known in the Legislature for his passionate advocacy for his constituents, in particular veterans, and for his bullying of a fellow Republican lawmaker after she didn’t support his bid for Republican caucus chair.He recently sued Clark County for $2 million over his brief stint as the director of the county’s Environmental Services Department.Benton initially managed Trump’s campaign in Washington. After the Republican National Convention, he was tapped to run the campaign in six states: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Hawaii.Trump won three of those states. Benton says Trump was pleased with how much he accomplished on a limited budget.“Over the campaign period, the president-elect and I developed a very good relationship. He trusts me. I trust him,” he said.Back in June, the D.C. political newspaper and website The Hill called Benton someone who had the candidate’s ear “to an unusual degree,” and listed him as a key influence alongside better known campaign insiders like Jeff Sessions and Paul Manafort.Benton says the transition team asked him not to discuss the details of his new assignment, but said that it will likely last for several months.last_img read more