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.

Tag: Frank Chopp

April
17th

State Rep. DeBolt resigns post as minority leader; will finish House term

By Melissa Santos and Jordan Schrader

Rep. Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis, announced Wednesday he is stepping down as House minority leader after a health emergency kept him home for a week.

DeBolt will finish the remainder of his two-year term, he said Wednesday, but not as leader of the House Republicans. Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, will step into the leadership role for now, DeBolt said.

DeBolt formally announced his decision Wednesday morning on the House floor.

“I’m not leaving, I’m just changing roles for a while,” he said.

According to a news release from DeBolt’s office, the lawmaker “had a medical

Read more »

Jan.
14th

House convenes; Chopp calls for clear and simple goals

The state House of Representatives convened today without the type of controversy that was simultaneously brewing in the Senate.

Instead, the Democrat-controlled House, led by Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, started with an opening message from Pastor John Rosenberg of the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd and a flag ceremony by members of the Washington State Patrol honor guard. Timberline high school student, Malachi Jones, sang the national anthem.

Chopp said the House was fortunate two of its newest members are active teachers. He went on to say that in addition to the challenges facing the Legislature in regards to

Read more »

Nov.
16th

House Dems re-elect Chopp, Sullivan, Tami Green

House Democrats gave new terms to its top leadership team today as Speaker Frank Chopp of Seattle and Majority Leader Pat Sullivan of Covington retained the top two positions in the caucus.

The full House picks a speaker, which happens on the first day of the legislative session, but Democrats’ substantial majority and the unsurprising vote today ensure Chopp will be speaker for an eighth term, a tenure that started with three years as co-speaker.

Pierce County retains a member of top leadership with the re-election of Rep. Tami Green of Lakewood as Democrats’ floor leader.

Here’s the news release:

Read more »

Jan.
9th

Speaker Frank Chopp: State bank could help students

House Speaker Frank Chopp opened the 60-day legislative session today with a speech laying out House Democrats’ priorities: preserving basic education funding; maintaining safety net programs like Apple Health, the Basic Health Plan and Disability Lifeline; stimulating the construction industry; endorsing gay marriage.

And one priority that is more surprising: A state-run bank, an idea that has strong support in the Occupy movement as an alternative to Wall Street banks.

Chopp said an “investment trust” would help college students obtain cheaper loans:

Tell me, why is it that I can get a loan for a new car today at

Read more »

June
10th

House Speaker Frank Chopp reflects on session

Chopp was often a hard man for reporters to find during session, so I sat down with him this week to get his take on lawmakers’ 135 days of work. Highlights from our interview:

ON BIPARTISANSHIP: Chopp’s House Democrats wrote a two-year spending plan without Republican votes of support before negotiating with both parties in the Senate to reach a final product. House Republicans wouldn’t support the final budget cuts. I asked Chopp why the House didn’t go through a bipartisan budget process, as the Senate did.

“You might want to ask them. Ask the House Republicans,” Chopp said. He said the GOP wasn’t willing to make the choices necessary to put together a budget, even voting against one of the big money-saving moves that was included in the House Republican budget proposal – ending cost-of-living increases for retired public employees.

GOP Rep. Gary Alexander, who wrote the alternative budget plan, voted with Democrats to approve the cut to retirees. But nearly all the rest of the Republicans parted ways with him. They said the cut breaks promises to state employees. 

“That gave us a clear signal they weren’t serious about the budget,” Chopp said.

ON SUING TO KILL THE TWO THIRDS RULE: Chopp and fellow Democrats participated in a scripted question-and-answer session on the floor over whether tax-limiting Initiative 1053 is constitutional. His answer: that’s up to the courts to decide. The colloquy was intended to clear some of the hurdles that in the past have stood in the way of lawmakers suing to overturn the voter-imposed law.

Some House Democrats are mulling the possibility of a lawsuit. Chopp said he wouldn’t be part of making that decision.

“Our members will decide for themselves,” he said. But he’s in favor of the courts weighing in. “I think they need to clarify what’s constitutional.”

ON THE BIG COMPROMISE: Read more »

May
18th

Few details, but House leaders predict breakthroughs are coming

The House had adjourned with plans to not come back until Monday, which seemed like a sign it might be giving up on finishing Wednesday as scheduled. Now, not so much. The budget committee is coming back to meet Friday, and House leaders were tentatively planning a floor session over the weekend.

So is a budget accord approaching?

“We’re getting really close,” House Speaker Frank Chopp said today when he sat down for an interview with Brad Shannon and me after a slew of meetings with other lawmakers and the governor.

“We’ve made progress, a lot of progress, in the

Read more »

Jan.
4th

Will voters be asked for transportation taxes?

While the Legislature will largely be shying away from taxes in the session starting next week, Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown is open to asking voters for new revenue for transportation projects.

“That is a possibility for us, putting together something that has statewide economic development impact,” Brown said. She brought up the issue at a panel discussion during this morning’s Associated Press Legislative Preview.

She left open what taxes could go up, but in the past lawmakers have turned to gas taxes. Money raised by increases in the gas tax last decade, first by a nickel and then by 9 1/2 cents, has funded hundreds of projects but is now running out.

Among the “mega-projects” that would need new revenue to get off the ground is an extension of state Route 167 to the Port of Tacoma, but there’s no guarantee that would make a list of funded projects. Brown said she would want to make sure the North-South Corridor in her hometown of Spokane gets a piece of any funding, and that mass transit and other non-road projects get their share. She also mentioned stormwater cleanup projects.

The other three legislative leaders weren’t crazy about the idea.

Read more »

June
8th

Independent label is popular, but sometimes it’s just a typo

At least seven candidates have registered for office this week calling themselves independent or stating no party preference.

In Washington’s top two primary, candidates can pick any party — or decline to pick one.

“The parties are not serving Americans,” said Schalk Leonard, a retired Navy judge advocate from Poulsbo running for U.S. Senate. “The parties are engaged in a type of tribal warfare which distracts them from producing benevolent and useful results.”

Leonard doesn’t see himself as fitting in either party, with his call for making sure gays can serve openly in the military that inclines him toward

Read more »