OLYMPIA, Wash. – A coalition of Republicans and two renegade Democrats have announced a plan to seize control of the Washington state senate.
Coalition leaders announced Monday they have the 25 votes they need to take the reins away from Democrats. The so-called Majority Coalition Caucus proposes a power-sharing deal. Six senate committees would be chaired by Republicans and six by Democrats. Another three would have co-chairs. Former Republican Rodney Tom, one of the breakaway Democrats, would serve as Senate Majority Leader.
“We want this to be a cooperative arrangement, governing from the middle, governing from the center and that’s what the citizens here in this state expect,” Tom said. However, under the power-sharing deal Republicans would control the senate’s budget writing committee. Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray said in a statement, “We don’t believe the Republicans’ take-it-or-leave it plan offers the right way forward.” The other Democrat to join with Republicans is Senator Tim Sheldon. The Washington legislature convenes in January.