Topic: Tim Sheldon
You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.
December 10, 2013 at 3:57 PM
The state Senate majority caucus congratulated itself Tuesday for surviving a year and vowed to pursue legislation that did not pass last session, including changes to K-12 education and workers compensation.
The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus was born a year ago when Democratic Sens. Rodney Tom, of Medina, and Tim Sheldon, of Potlatch, announced they’d caucus with Republicans, giving the GOP control of the chamber.
Tom and other leaders said their caucus, during the session that starts Jan. 13, will take up measures such as a bill that would allow school districts to lay off employees based on job performance, instead of seniority.
The caucus also wants to resume efforts to change the state workers compensation system. Last session the caucus pushed legislation that would let workers settle compensation claims for a lump-sum amount rather than pursuing a lifetime disability pension or other benefits – an idea strongly opposed by labor.
When asked about meeting a state Supreme Court mandate to increase funding for education, Tom, the Senate majority leader, said during a news conference it’s all about prioritizing spending within existing resources. “We should never have a conversation that we need new revenue for education,” he said.
Caucus leaders would not speculate on the prospect of completing a transportation tax package before the session starts. The GOP-led caucus has been negotiating with Democrats, who control the House and governor’s office, for months.
February 7, 2013 at 3:16 PM
State Democrats ramped up their public relations campaign against Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon on Thursday, asking party members to sign a letter informing the state senators that they are “no longer part of the Democratic Party.”
Tom, of Medina, and Sheldon, of Potlatch, joined with 23 Republicans last month to form a coalition that now controls the 49-member Senate. Under the coalition, Tom is Senate majority leader and Sheldon is the president pro tempore.
In a Thursday afternoon email to those on the state party’s listserv, Chairman Dwight Pelz called the senators’ move an “astonishing power grab.”
“Senators Tom and Sheldon have betrayed the Democratic Party. They were elected as Democrats. Senator Tom even accepted $25,000 from the Party in 2010,” said Pelz, before urging readers to “call out Tom and Sheldon for the traitors that they are.”
Last week, party leaders passed a resolution formally censuring Tom and Sheldon and pledging not to donate money, send volunteers or allow them access to the party’s voter database in the future.
Other local party groups have done the same.
Tom and Sheldon responded to the state Democrats’ email blast with a blog post entitled, “We’re proud Democrats who represent our districts, not a party.”
“As far as our loyalty is concerned, we are loyal to the principles we have always held and to the constituents who have sent us to Olympia,” they wrote. “We are not switching sides. We always have, and always will, be on the side of the people we represent, and side with them over any political party.”
January 31, 2013 at 12:07 PM
The GOP-led coalition in the Senate declared victory after passing five noncontroversial bills on Wednesday with near unanimous votes.
“Despite dire predictions of gridlock the Senate is operating just fine,” Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, D-Medina, said in a statement late Wednesday. “The Majority Coalition Caucus is governing – focusing on job growth, education and creating a sustainable budget while bringing an unprecedented level of cooperation and transparency.”
Tom became majority leader after he and Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, crossed party lines to give Republicans control of the Senate. Since then the coalition has maintained it’s ushering in a new era of bi-partisan cooperation.
The bills that passed, however, dealt with issues such as increasing the number of superior court judges in Whatcom County from three to four, allowing judges to serve out their terms instead of retiring at the end of the calendar year they reach 75, and changing the crime of retail theft with extenuating circumstances to “retail theft with special circumstances.”
None of the bills dealt with job growth, education or creating a sustainable budget.
“Those were five non controversial bills that would have passed under any majority,” said Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray, D-Seattle. “They will fly through the House as well. This is just smoke an mirrors.”
Murray said Republicans will get a big fight on bills aimed at revamping the state workers compensation system. Those are expected to come up for a vote next week.
January 31, 2013 at 9:48 AM
OLYMPIA — Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom, it turns out, can appreciate quality artwork even when it’s a parody portrait depicting him as a monarch.
The Medina Democrat, who angered his own party by forming a majority coalition with Republicans, laughed off a “King Rodney Tom” painting when he encountered it outside the Capitol on Thursday morning.
But the other influential lawmaker walking with him, Senate Republican leader Mark Schoesler, was not as pleased.
“Why don’t I have one?” joked Schoesler, of Ritzville.
It was one of several good-natured exchanges prompted by the painting, a photo-shopped picture of Tom — adorned with robe and crown.
Fuse Washington, a progressive group, created it this week.
“King Rodney Tom’s ascension to power in Washington is a remarkable story of drama and palace intrigue,” read a scroll-shaped flier distributed Thursday by the artists, who also handed out coffee and donuts. “For King Tom, it’s all about ego, ambition and political power. Compromise means convincing others to agree with him, and loyalty comes from leverage, not trust.”
Tom and Potlatch Democrat Tim Sheldon see their coalition with 23 Republicans somewhat differently. They have framed the coalition, which holds a one-vote majority in the 49-member Senate, as an opportunity for the divided chamber “to work together in a collaborative manner.”
Erin Haick, a 31-year-old Seattle resident and the field director for Fuse Washington, said it took her five to six hours to create the portrait.
December 11, 2012 at 5:13 PM
State Sen. Ed Murray — the Seattle Democrat who was set to lead the Senate before two members of his party defected to form a new majority caucus with Republicans — said Tuesday he would rather be in the minority than participate in the coalition’s “power-sharing” proposal.
“I don’t believe that the Democrats will be in the majority,” he said. “I don’t believe that at all. But I do think that we can find a more functional way for the Senate to operate than this.”
Speaking in an interview with members of The Seattle Times Editorial Board, Murray cautioned he was not speaking for anybody but himself. Senate Democrats plan to meet sometime in the next week to form a response to the proposal from the new coalition, which includes 23 Republican senators and Democratic Sens. Rodney Tom of Medina and Tim Sheldon of Potlatch.
The proposal would install Tom as majority leader and Sheldon as president pro tempore while giving each party equal committee chairmanships. The most powerful committees, however, would be reserved for the Republicans.
Murray said he hopes to negotiate “a more bipartisan way of moving forward.”
But if the choice is between accepting the proposal as announced or being the minority party with no committee leadership positions, Murray said he would choose the latter.
“I think it would be healthier for the institution if 24 of us are a strong minority influencing the process as a minority,” he said. “I think it would make for a better product in the end.”
December 11, 2012 at 3:56 PM
A day after Republicans announced they plan to make Sen. Rodney Tom, D-Medina, the Senate majority leader, a key question remains: Who would he lead?
The GOP, with the help of Tom and Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlach, said Monday they expect to take control of the Senate.
Republican Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, however, said in an interview Tuesday he’s still the leader of the GOP caucus and they will continue to meet and discuss issues and strategies important to Republicans.
Democratic Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, is still the leader of the Democratic caucus.
So if Schoesler is leading the Republicans and Murray is leading Democrats, who would Tom lead?
No one has a good answer at this point, other than the “majority coalition.”
Tom said Tuesday he expects to move into the corner office, on the Democratic side of the Senate chambers, traditionally held by the Senate majority leader. And that he plans to walk over to the GOP side to caucus with Republicans.
Asked what he plans to do in the GOP caucus, Tom said: “I’d be there to listen. I’m there to keep the coalition moving forward and together.”
Tom said he hopes other Democrats will eventually join his cause, but so far has no takers.
For now, this is less of a “power-sharing coalition” and more like a Senate controlled by Republicans — with the help of two Democrats.
December 10, 2012 at 11:02 AM
Two conservative Democratic state senators announced today they will join with Senate Republicans to form a “majority coalition caucus” in which they say power will more or less be split between the two parties.
The coup, which has been rumored since Republicans gained a seat in the Senate in last month’s election, would install one of the conservative Democrats, former Republican Rodney Tom of Bellevue, as the body’s majority leader and the other, Tim Sheldon of Potlach, as the president pro tempore.
Democrats and Republicans would each chair six committees under the proposal, with a majority of just one vote, Tom announced in a news conference. And three committees would be evenly split.
Republicans would chair some of the most important committees, however. Andy Hill of Redmond 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.
“What we’re doing here today is making sure that we have a Senate that functions,” said Tom, who called the move unprecedented. “The public out there is hungry for us to come together, to work together in a collaborative manner.”
Democrats have not signed on to the new coalition, which would focus on three stated priorities: promoting job growth, ensuring a “world class education system” and building a “sustainable budget.”
Asked about taxes, the Republicans cited the fact that Gov.-elect Jay Inslee, a Democrat, has pledged not to raise taxes.
Democrats controlled 26 of 49 seats before the coup and were preparing to lead the chamber under Sen. Ed Murry, D-Seattle. On Monday, they derided a power-sharing agreement as risky, noting that they have proposed to create an evenly-led education committee and to give Republicans an unprecedented number of seats on committees.
“We are concerned that trying to establish an unprecedented, untested, uncertain philosophical majority structure on the first day of the legislative session could bring the institution to a halt,” according to a Democratic statement.
Murray added in his own statement that Democrats “are committed to forming a mutually agreed-upon way for Republicans and Democrats to work together. We don’t believe the Republicans’ take-it-or-leave-it plan offers the right way forward. We remain hopeful that Republicans will be open to negotiations to ensure the full functioning of the Senate.”
Democrats control the state House.
About this blog
Trending with readers