Political Buzz

Talking WA politics.

NOTICE: Political Buzz has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved Political Buzz.
Visit the new section.

Archives: Jan. 2010


Roach expelled from GOP caucus meetings

Citing “hostile behavior,” state Senate Republicans have kicked GOP Sen. Pam Roach out of their private meetings.

Roach, an Auburn resident who represents the 31st District, no longer will get a voice or a vote in her caucus, where lawmakers huddle by party affiliation behind closed doors.

“As your fellow Senators it is difficult to be in a room with you when you erupt in anger,” Senate GOP caucus leaders said in a letter to Roach obtained by the News Tribune. “For our employees it is unacceptable.”

The rare step stems from an April 15, 2009, confrontation between Roach and a Senate staff lawyer who handles personnel and ethics matters, Michael Hoover, but reflects years of conflict between Roach and other Senate Republicans.

Roach reached back to those past incidents in an interview today to argue GOP leaders are persecuting her. She said she has filed requests for reconsideration of the caucus ejection and a reprimand of her by a bipartisan Senate committee that Republicans cited in their decision. But she doesn’t mind being left out of caucus, Roach said.

“It’s not anything I’m missing at all,” she said, “and it’s kind of freedom-evoking.”

Read more »


Ron Weigelt of Bonney Lake announces state Senate campaign in 31st District

Former Buckley city councilman Ron Weigelt said today he’ll run for the 31st District Senate seat now held by Pam Roach.

Weigelt, a Democrat, is a human resources manager for the Seattle and King County health department.

The Seattle native now lives in Bonney Lake with his wife Jane Barsi.

“Having been born and raised here in Washington, I have experienced and observed a great deal. I want to apply that knowledge and those experiences to face the future on our own terms: self-reliant, independent, and with optimism,” Weigelt said.

Weigelt spent 12 years in the U.S. Army, reaching the rank of captain before leaving the service in 1992. He also has worked as a labor negotiator for King County and the Office and Professional Employees International Union.

Here’s his announcement statement: Read more »


How your lawmakers voted

Here is how South Sound lawmakers voted recent on selected bills, as compiled by WashingtonVotes.org. Visit their Web site for a searchable database of issues and votes.

Look up your legislative district.

Y = Yes, N = No, E = Excused, X = Not Voting

House Bill 1180, 2SHB 1180 – Prohibiting the use of bisphenol A
2SHB 1180 passed the House by a vote of 95 to 1 prohibiting the use bisphenol A, which is a chemical used to harden plastics, in any product containing food or beverages intended for use by a child 3 and under. In addition the bill restricts the use of bisphenol A in sports bottles. 2SHB 1180 also establishes monetary penalties for violation of the act which takes effect July 1, 2010. The Senate passed SSB 6248 which would also ban the use of bisphenol by a vote of 36 to 9. However the Senate’s bill does not regulate bisphenol A in sports bottles. 2SHB 1180 is now before the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee for further consideration and the House will consider SSB 6248.

Rep. Tom Campbell, (R-Roy) Y
Rep. Jim McCune, (R-Graham) Y
Rep. Sam Hunt, (D-Olympia) Y
Rep. Brendan Williams, (D-Olympia) Y
Rep. Bruce Dammeier, (R) Y
Rep. Dawn Morrell, (D-Puyallup) Y
Rep. Jan Angel, (R – Port Orchard) Y
Rep. Larry Seaquist, (D-Gig Harbor) Y
Rep. Jeannie Darneille, (D-Tacoma) Y
Rep. Dennis Flannigan, (D-Tacoma) Y
Rep. Tami Green, (D-Lakewood) Y
Rep. Troy Kelley, (D-Tacoma) Y
Rep. Steve Conway, (D-Tacoma) Y
Rep. Steve Kirby, (D-Tacoma) Y
Rep. Mark Miloscia, (D-Federal Way) Y
Rep. Skip Priest, (R-Federal Way) Y
Rep. Christopher Hurst, (D-Enumclaw) Y
Rep. Dan Roach, (R-Bonney Lake) Y
Rep. Tina Orwall, (D) Y
Rep. Dave Upthegrove, (D-Des Moines) Y
Rep. Geoff Simpson, (D-Covington) Y
Rep. Pat Sullivan, (D-Covington) Y

Read more »


Former Murray aide appointed regional HUD director

Mary McBride, Sen. Patty Murray’s South Sound point person, has been appointed to as Northwest regional director for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Here is the press release:


SEATTLE – U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan today announced President Barack Obama’s selection of Mary McBride to serve as HUD Regional Director for the four states in HUD’s Northwest Region including Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska.

As the regional director, McBride will serve as HUD’s liaison to mayors, city managers, elected representatives, state and local officials, congressional delegations, stakeholders and customers and will be responsible for overseeing the delivery of HUD programs and services to communities, and evaluate their efficiency and effectiveness.

Read more »


Adam Smith back in hospital


WASHINGTON – Washington Rep. Adam Smith is back in the hospital today with a slow leak in his lung. Smith suffered a collapsed lung in October, but the procedure to fix it wasn’t enough to prevent another episode.

Smith, D-Tacoma, is at Bethesda Naval Hospital where doctors performed another procedure which should permanently fix the problem. The congressmen, who had been fine, experienced some pain and tension in his right side yesterday morning.

“He is expected to make a full recovery and will hopefully be back at work next week,” said Mike Amato, a Smith

Read more »


Murray, Cantwell split on Bernanke vote

Washington state’s senators split today on the reappointment of Ben Bernanke to the Federal Reserve Bank chairmanship. Patty Murray voted for, despite reservations, and Maria Cantwell voted against. The 70-30 vote was the closest ever for confirmation for a Fed chairman.

Cantwell: “This is not one Fed chairman’s problem or one administration’s problem … My vote against the Fed chairman has to do not with the past but with the future – the future prevention of another bubble, or more bankruptcies.”

Murray: “The concern across our state and nation about the pace of our recovery is understandable. I share that concern. I have shared it with Ben Bernanke directly. I told him I expect accountability and transparency from the Fed and a commitment to put the needs of American consumers ahead of Wall Street banks.

Below are full press releases from both Democrats.

Read more »


Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland: A budding TV star?

As I reported here last week, Tacoma’s new mayor, Marilyn Strickland, was in the nation’s capital last week to attend her first gathering of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Marilyn Strickland

Strickland was among about 200 head cheeses from cities across the nation to join in the group’s regular yearly trek to D.C., where she heard from a long list of illustrious speakers, including Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and First Lady Michelle Obama.

The highlight of the three-day conference was a trip to the White House, where President Barack Obama addressed all of the mayors about his administration’s plans to work collaboratively with American cities to stimulate the economy and create new jobs.

After meeting the president, a select group of prominent mayors headed to the White House lawn outside of the West Wing for a press conference, during which they made their case for cities getting a bigger cut of federal recovery dollars being distributed to the states.

Carried live on C-SPAN, the press conference featured such prominent mayors as Ray Nagin of New Orleans, Philadelphia’s Michael Nutter and Joseph Riley, the mayor of Charleston, South Carolina for 34 years.

Also seen in the group — none other than Marilyn Strickland, Mayor of the `City of Destiny’ for all of three weeks at the time.

Read more »


U Place school board member Kent Keel will challenge Tami Green in 28th district

Kent Keel, a three-term member of the University Place school board announced today that he’ll run for the state House from the 28th District.

Keel, a Republican, will challenge incumbent Democrat Tami Green of Lakewood.

“After talking to others in our community, I am convinced that people share my priorities of public safety, a balanced budget, efficient government, reasonable taxing and effective regulatory policy,” Keel said.

The 28th is something of a rarity in Washington – a legislative districts that is competitive between Republicans and Democrats. While both House members are Democrats, the Senate seat is held by Republican Mike Carrell.

Green won the seat in 2004 by defeating appointed GOP incumbent Bob Lawrence.

Here is Keel’s announcement release Read more »