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State Senate 'Coup' Shifts Balance of Power to Republicans, Hill Named Ways and Means Chair

Sen. Andy Hill (R-Redmond) and several other State Senate Republicans were named to leadership positions on Monday after Sen. Rodney Tom (D-Bellevue) and Tim Sheldon (D-Potlach) decided to caucus with Republicans.

State Sen. Andy Hill (R-Redmond) was selected Monday to serve as chairman of the Washington State Senate Ways and Means Committee after two Democratic Party Senators announced they would caucus with Republicans, shifting the balance of power to the minority party.

According to the Seattle Times, "The coup" would install Democrats Sen. Rodney Tom of Bellevue as the body’s majority leader and Tim Sheldon of Potlach as the president pro tempore.

Tom, who represents parts of Kirkland, Bellevue and Redmond in the 48th Legislative District, said in an Olympia news conference that Democrats and Republicans would each chair six committees under the proposal, with a majority of just one vote. Three other committees would be evenly split.

Republicans would chair some of the most important committees, however, said the Times. Hill, who represents parts of Redmond, Kirkland and Woodinville in the 45th Legislative District, would chair the budget-writing Ways and Means Committee, and Steve Litzow of Mercer Island would chair the early learning and K-12 education committee.

The Senate’s new majority, calling themselves the "Majority Coalition Caucus" will hold the power in the senate when legislators convene for the 2013 session.

Shorly after the announcement, Dwight Pelz, chairman of the state's Democratic Party, told the Associated Press that he was disowning Tom and Sheldon and now considers the two senators Republicans.

What do you think? Is the behavior of Tom and Sheldon okay or does it go against their party? Tell us in comments.

Edward A. December 11, 2012 at 06:03 AM
It doesn't matter what they call themselves - they have been disowned by the Democrats. This stuff happens all the time. Yawn.
Bernie Talmas December 11, 2012 at 07:09 PM
What matters is the quality and character of the person, not the party they belong to. Andy, Steve and Rodney are each first-rate, and if they can get together and help solve the state's budget issues we'll all be better off. Bernie Talmas Woodinville Mayor
Susan Milke December 11, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Just goes to show you that there is really just one party and they are all the same. They represent themselves and not us, the people.
Susan Milke December 11, 2012 at 07:46 PM
Solving the budget problems would be great. All I know if that I continue to pay more and get less for it. I am talking sales taxes, property taxes, tolls, college tuition, high school sports fees, B&O taxes, parking fees in Seattle, etc. Where is all the money going?!

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