Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Senator Tom Switches Back

Posted by Warren Peterson on January 4, 2013

The 2013-2014 Washington State Legislature convenes Monday, January 14, 2013 in what was to be a typical Blue State climate – Democrat Governor and Democrat control of both houses of the legislature. However, thanks to two Democrat state senators, a touch of Red State rain fell on the D’s parade. Former Republican but now Democrat State Senator Rodney Tom and conservative Democrat Senator Tim Sheldon joined with the Republicans to take effective control of the State Senate by one vote, 25 to 24. Tom becomes Majority Leader and Republicans get majority control of key committees controlling taxes, spending, K-12 education and healthcare. Tom, Sheldon and Democrat Senator Jim Kastama, perhaps in a dry run of today’s coup, sided with Republicans on the budget in the 2012 session. Republicans gained one senate seat in the last election making the new coalition likely despite Democrat concessions to prevent it. If it holds, Washington State may avert its own fiscal cliff by frustrating the tax and spend Democrats who were salivating for billions more spending on K-12 and higher education, transportation, healthcare etc. These may all be good desires but constraint is needed lest we become California. To that end, I say welcome back Senator Tom.

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