Sen. Pam Roach is back in the Republican caucus meetings.
Kicked out of the party’s private huddle since 2010, Roach said today she has been allowed to return since “a couple days ago.” That coincides with something else that happened a couple days ago, early Saturday morning to be exact: Senate Republicans forced a vote on their budget after taking over the Senate floor from the majority party.
They approved it with the bare minimum of 25 votes including three Democratic defectors, which meant they had to have Roach’s vote. And they got it.
Around the same time, Roach was allowed back in. And she says all of the caucus’s sanctions against her have been dropped.
UPDATE 3:56 p.m.: The Senate Facilities and Operations Committee’s sanctions, however, remain in place — including a prohibition on Roach talking to staff. UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: Roach says no one was enforcing sanctions against her except the Republican caucus.
Roach didn’t deny the connection but wouldn’t explain what happened. “I don’t want to make anybody angry. I just want to move forward,” she said. “The majority of the caucus definitely thought it was long overdue. … It’s very important Republicans work as a team.”
She was more talkative with the Seattle Times. Andrew Garber has a post up this afternoon. Roach told the Times:
I was the 25th vote, and my caucus finally did the right thing … When it got down to it there were some things I was asking of my caucus … one of them was the full restoration of going back into the caucus and access to staff. And that occurred.
Roach praised the budget today, including some money for a study of other potential uses for Rainier School in Buckley. She said she also hopes to get some money in the capital budget for renovations at Rainier School. Gov. Chris Gregoire proposed to close it in her budget, but none of the legislative budgets follows suit.
Here’s my story from 2010, when Roach was booted from her caucus. Republican leaders accused her of berating staff. She said it was all part of a vendetta against her by Majority Leader Mike Hewitt and others.