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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Conservative Dems Snag Key Committee Posts as State Democratic Caucus Names New Leaders

Posted by on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 4:21 PM

The state Senate Dems named their new leadership team and committee chairs today, and it sure does look like newly elected majority leader Ed Murray is making a genuine effort to cement control of the senate by bridging the ideological gap in his own caucus. The most striking assignment: Senator Tim Sheldon of Potlatch in the role of president pro tempore, which also makes him vice-chair of the all important Rules Committee.

"I'm honored by my colleagues' expression of support and confidence," Sheldon said in a statement. "The president pro tem is responsible not just for ensuring orderly floor action but for ruling on questions of order and interpreting statute, such as whether a fee qualifies as a tax. I’m humbled to see the level of respect for my judgment."

Sheldon, who participated in last session's divisive budget coup, was notably one of two conservative Democrats threatening to organize with the Republicans this session. But this plum assignment appears to make that scenario less likely. A savvy move on Murray's part to appease Sheldon and protect his flank?

"There was no deal," insists Murray of Sheldon. "Everybody fills out a form making requests, and his requests were reasonable."

Maybe. But for those fearing some sort of liberal tyranny, you sure wouldn't know it from some key committee assignments. For example, Murray's prior perch as chair of the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee is being handed to conservative Senator Jim Hargrove of Hoquiam. And the caucus is creating a bipartisan Select Committee on Education Finance and Results to be co-chaired with Republicans and to contain an equal number of members.

"I'm trying to find a way to unite the caucus," says Murray, "so that we can have a functioning majority and a functioning senate."

Whether it's functional enough to get anything done remains to be seen.


Comments (10) RSS

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Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 1
This is one of the things that bothers me about Murray. He acts like we're all idiots. "No deal" involving Sheldon? Does he seriously believe we'd accept that? Sheldon is the prototypical used-car salesman. He probably has a deal w/ all his kids on how many hugs he'll give them in exchange for the price of their christmas gifts, through the year 2025.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on November 27, 2012 at 4:47 PM · Report this
Murray has proven capable and effectual, able to make politically savvy deals without being duplicitous.
Posted by Meat Weapon on November 27, 2012 at 4:53 PM · Report this
Senate Democrats today recommended Rosemary McAuliffe as the chair of the Senate Pre-K-12 Education committee.

How's that taste, Seattle Times editorial board?
Posted by Charlie Mas on November 27, 2012 at 5:06 PM · Report this
Yeah, right, what better way to neutralize conservatives than putting them in controlling position? Sounds like a stroke of genius. [cough]

Paint me dubious on that one.
Posted by anon1256 on November 27, 2012 at 6:11 PM · Report this
Supreme Ruler Of The Universe 5

Get anything done.

What exactly needs to be "done"?

I'm not really sure what the issues are here in Washington State since it appears to be some kind of paradise for dullards, well funded by the Government and profitable corporations.

Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe on November 27, 2012 at 7:11 PM · Report this
@4's unfortunately right to be dubious.
Posted by sarah70 on November 28, 2012 at 12:01 AM · Report this
I think it is a bad idea in general for a political body to reward its dissidents and traitors with positions of authority. You might as well appoint members of the opposition.
Posted by Charlie Mas on November 28, 2012 at 5:14 AM · Report this
Zotz 8
Putting fascists in charge of rules is never a good legislative strategy.
Posted by Zotz on November 28, 2012 at 6:05 AM · Report this
Focus on the end product, not what the sausage looks like while it's getting made. Ed is very smart. If this keeps the Dems in control of the Senate, I'm all for it. Just how much would get done if the Republicans were in charge? Nothing.
Posted by NotYourStrawMan on November 28, 2012 at 9:30 AM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 10
@3 That tastes FUCKING SWEET!!!
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on November 28, 2012 at 12:44 PM · Report this

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