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Tag: Joe Fain


Senate Republicans elect Mark Schoesler as leader

Sen. Mark Schoesler is a wheat farmer and a 20-year veteran of the Legislature who hails from rural Ritzville, about halfway between the Tri-Cities and Spokane.

He has helped write the state budget and has been a loud opponent of anything he sees as government waste. He also chaired Senate Republicans’ campaign committee, which couldn’t take over the majority but picked up one seat, leaving the GOP with more control if they can ally with two fiscally conservative Democrats.

Now he will be at the forefront as the Senate figures out who’s in charge. Republicans today elected him their leader, replacing

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Republican freshmen play role in revised budget

It wasn’t easy for state Senate Republicans to peel three Democrats away from their party, which they needed to secure a 25-vote majority on the budget.

But it has been even harder to keep the 22 Republicans together, said one of them, Spokane Sen. Michael Baumgartner.

“That takes as much diplomacy as I ever saw in Iraq and Afghanistan,” said Baumgartner, a former State Department officer (and a U.S. Senate candidate).

It took some changes to their party’s budget to get Baumgartner and three other GOP freshmen to stand front and center today and praise it at a press conference with budget

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Most lawmakers align with their new districts on gay rights

To understand the ‘no’ vote cast on gay marriage Wednesday by Rep. Steve Kirby, a Tacoman who usually sides with his fellow Democrats, it helps to look at how the people in his district voted in 2009 on the “everything but marriage” referendum.

No, not his current district, which turned down Referendum 71 by a somewhat narrow 52-to-48 margin. I’m talking about the district where he has to run this year. It’s still the 29th, but it has been reshaped by redistricting, and the new area defeated domestic partnership expansion by a near-landslide 55-to-45 margin.

The R-71 vote to expand

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Amendments ready on gay marriage bill

Three senators who have been closely watched in the same-sex marriage debate, Republican Sen. Joe Fain of Auburn and Democratic Sens. Brian Hatfield of Raymond and Mary Margaret Haugen of Camano Island, have offered amendments that could be taken up when the bill goes to the floor tonight.

Hatfield’s amendment is an attempt to send same-sex marriage to a public vote, which appears unlikely to find support in the Senate. Haugen, who gave Democrats the 25th vote to put them over the top on same-sex marriage, offers up some language to establish that the bill doesn’t affect adoption rights. And Fain

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Plan would continue Route 167 HOT lanes experiment

Buried in the House transportation budget is permission for an extra year of the pilot project that allows lone drivers to buy their way into car pool lanes between Auburn and Renton.

House Transportation Committee chairwoman Judy Clibborn wants to extend the state Route 167 experiment until June 2013 because she is trying to put the same pay-to-use lanes — known as high occupancy toll or HOT lanes — on Interstate 405 from Lynnwood to Bellevue. Eventually, she foresees connecting the two stretches of lanes, and she doesn’t want the Route 167 project to lapse before that can happen.

“I want them from Lynnwood to Puyallup,” said Clibborn, D-Mercer Island.

A large expansion of the lanes would ease traffic congestion and help raise money for improvements to I-405 and the extension of Route 167 to the Port of Tacoma, she and other supporters say.

The HOT lanes continue to lose money nearly three years after the four-year pilot project began. But WSDOT says they are about to start breaking even, because with the start of tolling on the Route 520 bridge, the costs of state tolling are spread among more toll projects.

“Now they don’t cost us anything,” Clibborn said.

Rep. Mark Hargrove of Covington, a freshman Republican who helped write the transportation budget,  says the HOT lanes were a bad idea from the beginning. But if the state is no longer losing money on them, he said, it doesn’t hurt to wait an extra year to shut down the project. Read more »


Are ‘push polls’ labor’s ‘first salvo’ against Republicans, Democrats?

Phones are ringing at voters’ homes in hotly contested legislative districts, and the voice on the other end may have some unflattering information about the candidates.

Voters in parts of the “suburban crescent,” the arc of swing districts around Seattle, heard negative messages about candidates recently in what one of the targeted candidates, Joe Fain, calls a “push poll,” a survey intended to persuade rather than query.

Fain, a Republican challenging Democratic Sen. Claudia Kauffman of Kent, seized on the calls in an e-mail asking supporters for money, writing that “my opponent’s campaign” paid polling firm Mountain West Research to

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