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The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

January 17, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Roach praises herself, scolds press, announces book in rambling news conference

Pam Roach addresses reporters in her office Thursday afternoon. (Brian M. Rosenthal/The Seattle Times)

In a rambling, hour-long news conference, beleaguered state Sen. Pam Roach on Thursday enumerated her life accomplishments, lectured reporters and announced that she is writing a book.

The book, to be titled “The Caucus,” will be about “what it’s like to be in the Senate Republican caucus,” the six-term Auburn senator said.

Roach called the news conference to respond to reports about a GOP-controlled Senate panel lifting sanctions that were levied against her in 2010 for allegedly mistreating a former Senate staffer.

Democrats say that Roach, who gave Republicans a critical vote allowing them to take control of the state Senate, did not satisfy the terms of her 2010 punishment.

Moreover, the decision came amid reports of a separate incident last year in which she allegedly verbally assaulted another Senate staffer.

On Thursday, Roach stated that “I have never mistreated anyone.”

She blamed the allegations on a “long, drawn-out campaign to ruin my good name” by her Senate Republican colleagues.

As in the past, she said the campaign was started by the late Jim West, a former Spokane senator whom Roach says was the subject of potentially damaging emails that her staff discovered. She said it was continued by Mike Hewitt, a Walla Walla senator whom Roach unsuccessfully challenged for leadership of the caucus.

“This is the largest, most concentrated effort to ruin somebody’s name in the Legislature that has ever happened in state history,” said Roach, adding that the effort was aided by a sexist Senate Republican caucus and a lazy and sensationalistic media.

Roach spent much of her news conference reviewing her record of accomplishment, in and out of the Legislature. She help up an iPad with a photo of her doing a radio show in Zambia, and she passed out a pamphlet about a school in Honduras where she volunteers.

“I do more arguably — not even arguably — than anybody else in this Senate,” said Roach, describing her successful five children and 16 grandchildren. “I care about people.”

Roach said she will seek re-election.

But she would not answer questions about why the Senate panel lifted sanctions against her, calling the explanation “personal” and saying only that “apparently (the committee members) were satisfied.”

“I’m done answering questions,” Roach said after an hour and just a handful of questions. “I just spent an hour of my time. Without lunch.”

Comments | More in State Legislature | Topics: Jim West, Majority Coalition Caucus, mike hewitt

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