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: Rodney Tom

Jan.
9th

Capitol shuffle sends AG’s lobbyist Hunter Goodman to top Senate admin job

Hunter Goodman is moving over from the Attorney General’s Office to serve as secretary of the Senate. The announcement just went out confirming the day’s earlier rumor as Goodman replaces longtime secretary Tom Hoemann. Goodman was deputy chief of staff and served as legislative director for outgoing Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican who ran and lost his bid for governor.

New AG Bob Ferguson, a Democrat, is replacing some staff members, including the appointment today of a new solicitor general.

Goodman obviously knows his way around the Capitol but the powers that be still have to

Read more »

Dec.
27th

Lt. Gov. Brad Owen starting peace talks with state Senate leaders on Friday morning

The ongoing stalemate over who is in charge of the Washington state Senate may get sorted out on neutral ground Friday morning. Lt. Gov. Brad Owen says he is convening a three-hour session with leaders of both Democratic and Republican blocs that are vying for position in the divided chamber.

“It’s not my job to dictate or tell them what to do but I have some history and I have some ideas. I think they recognize I’ve been pretty independent over the years,’’ Owen, a Democrat, said by phone today. “I think there is a good possibility of working it

Read more »

Dec.
20th

Dems’ Sen. Murray says he’ll ask Lt. Gov. Owen to help transition Senate’s power to new Republican-dominated coalition

Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray says he is going to ask Lt. Gov. Brad Owen for help in sorting out an orderly transition of power in the chamber – as his caucus prepares to hand over reins to a new alliance of 23 Republicans and two Democrats on Jan. 14.

Murray also said late Thursday in a telephone interview that he is willing to give up claims to leadership offices in the state Capitol, leaving his caucus’ space to Sen. Rodney Tom, the dissident Democrat who along with maverick Sen. Tim Sheldon is forming the new majority caucus with the Republican minority.

Murray’s announcements were the latest turns in a strange, evolving situation in the Senate where Democrats have a 26 seats, Republicans led by Sen. Mark Schoesler have 23, and a new coalition led by Tom and Schoesler  is trying to seize power.

Murray’s offer to bring in Owen as peacemaker might offer an end to the unfolding soap opera over who is in charge at the Senate – and how the transfer of power will take place before lawmakers show up mid-January for a 105-day session widely expected to be difficult just because of the school funding issue.

Read more »

Dec.
12th

Senate Democrats’ leader Ed Murray says he’d rather be in real minority than accept GOP power-sharing plan

It remains to be seen what Senate Democrats will do about the power-sharing arrangement outlined this week by 23 Republicans and two Democrats, led by state Democratic Sen. Rodney Tom. With Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, also in the new Majority Coalition Caucus, the remaining 24 Democrats have not decided what their next steps will be.

That is what Sen. Karen Fraser, the Thurston County Democrat who chairs the Senate Democratic Caucus, told me yesterday afternoon. But it doesn’t look like Democrats are accepting the power-sharing terms laid out Monday by the new Republican-plus-two majority, which has offered to let

Read more »

Dec.
10th

Senate committees get new leaders, including Pam Roach, Randi Becker, Mike Carrell

The political earthquake today that gives control of the state Senate to Republicans and two Democrats will reshuffle the leadership roster.

The coalition announced they would put Republicans in charge of some of the most important committees, including budget-writing Ways and Means (Andy Hill of Redmond instead of the Democrats’ pick, Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam), Education (Steve Litzow of Mercer Island replacing Rosemary McAuliffe of Bothell), Commerce and Labor (Janea Holmquist Newbry of Moses Lake taking over from Jeanne Kohl-Welles of Seattle) and the judiciary or justice committee (Mike Padden of Spokane Valley replacing Adam Kline of Seattle).

Randi Becker of Eatonville,

Read more »

Dec.
10th

UPDATE – Republican-led coalition takes control in state Senate

Senate Republicans joined by maverick Democratic Sens. Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon announced a new majority coalition today to run the Senate in January, calling their plan a bipartisan effort to share power in a cooperative way the public is demanding. Tom will serve as majority leader of the new Majority Coalition Caucus, while Sheldon will take over as president pro tem, presiding in the absence of Lt. Gov. Brad Owen.

The news came as perhaps a small surprise to Democrats, who had offered to share power under leadership of a 26-Democrat majority but knew an announcement was coming. Democrats’ leader Ed Murray called it a “take-it-or-leave-it” approach and it was unclear if the 24 remaining Democrats would agree to provide chairmen for the six committees that the new coalition offered.

Tom and Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler of Ritzville said they agree with Gov.-elect Jay inslee, a Democrat, that new tax revenue is not needed to answer a Supreme Court ruling on the funding of schools. But the Washington Education Association quickly denounced the Senate power shift, calling it “misguided” and harmful to K-12 schools in a news release.

Read more »

Nov.
15th

Rodney Tom as Senate majority leader?

Conservative Democratic Sen. Tim Sheldon talked on Monday about the possibility of joining with Republicans and Sen. Rodney Tom to elect a ”coalition” majority leader in place of the Democrats’ eventual pick for leader, Ed Murray.

Now Tom, a Medina Democrat, confirms to the Seattle Times who that majority leader might be:

Himself.

Republicans confirmed they have discussed with Tom the idea of electing him majority leader, which would require a revamp of the process. The Times’ Andrew Garber has the details here.

Tom is a former Republican who switched parties in 2006, and a former budget writer who lost that role after he voted against a budget he helped write in 2010. He helped Republicans take over the budget process last winter, while also unsuccessfully pushing for charter schools — which went nowhere in the Legislature but won voters’ approval last week. Read more »

Nov.
12th

Tim Sheldon, Rodney Tom hope to force power-sharing arrangement in Senate

Democrats will outnumber Republicans next year in a closely divided state Senate, but if Sens. Tim Sheldon and Rodney Tom have their way, the two parties will have to share power in unprecedented fashion.

Last session, the two conservative Democrats and one other, departing Sen. Jim Kastama, joined Republicans to form a “philosophical majority” and advance their own budget plan. Now their continued role as king-makers hinges on the re-election of Vancouver Republican Sen. Don Benton, who is down by just 16 votes in a race almost certainly headed for a recount.

If Benton wins, Tom and Sheldon have choices to make.

Read more »