Topic: mike hewitt
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January 17, 2013 at 4:41 PM
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.”
November 15, 2012 at 12:45 PM
Another Senate coup is being discussed by Republicans. And this one could make Democratic Sen. Rodney Tom the new Senate majority leader.
That’s not a typo.
Tom, D-Bellevue, says GOP senators have discussed the idea with him, and Senate Republican Leader Mike Hewitt on Thursday confirmed the discussion.
“There’s has been some talk,” Hewitt said in an interview. “It’s not much different than what we did last year. You would have to go to the floor to do all this stuff, rather than having it done in caucus.”
Last session, Republicans took control of the Senate budget when three Democrats, including Tom and Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, crossed party lines. That move blew up the Senate and for several weeks led to tense relations between both parties.
Any push to make Tom the majority leader likely depends on a close Senate race in Vancouver. Currently, Democrats control the Senate by a 27 to 22 majority. Republicans could pick up one seat, depending on the outcome of a close race between Republican state Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, and Democratic Rep. Tim Probst.
Benton pulled ahead earlier this week and is leading by 110 votes. If Benton wins, Tom and Sheldon would be key swing votes for Republicans. If Benton loses and Democrats keep the current majority, talk of revamping the Senate may die.
Making Tom the majority leader would require rewriting Senate rules on the floor when the Legislature convenes in January, and, presumably, the vote of every Republican senator along with Tom and Sheldon.
Hewitt on Thursday said that although the idea is being discussed, he has not broached it with his caucus and doesn’t know if sufficient votes exist.
When asked what would be the advantage of such a move, Hewitt said, “We would be operating from the center. We would be governing from the center rather from the left.”
Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, was recently picked as the Senate majority leader by his caucus. He urged Republicans to back off the idea of another coup.
“I hope they would walk away from an approach that would be so divisive,” Murray said. “I think it would poison our ability to function the rest of the session.”
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