By Ralph Schwartz
Two days ago, state Senate Republicans and two Democrats announced a new majority in which the two Dems switched sides, if only in philosophy. This has shaken up the power dynamics in the Senate, as Republicans share committee chairmanships equally with Democrats, even as Dems nominally maintain a majority.
Later that same day, I attached a statement from Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale), to my original post on the story. Today, I pass along the response of Sen. Kevin Ranker (D-Orcas Island), the other senator who has Whatcom County residents in his constituency.
Here’s the statement in full:
Olympia – Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, issued the following statement today regarding the Republican takeover of the Washington State Senate:
“This morning two Democrats crossed over to give the Republicans control of the Washington State Senate. While this was not unexpected, I am disappointed as I felt that the proposal we Democrats put forward earlier this month was a strong bipartisan offering that still respected the fact that the voters of Washington State elected a Democratic majority in the Washington State Senate. Many of you have heard me discuss this possibility over the past months due to the extremely tight Democratic majority in the Senate and the fact that these two Democrats had crossed over for a limited time last session.
“The Republicans have proposed a power sharing structure that, among other things, places one of the two crossover Democrats as Leader of the Senate and offers me a potential chairmanship or co-chairmanship of some of those issues I have led on regarding the environment and energy.
“Regarding my chairmanship, as you are all aware, I care deeply about the environment and energy matters here in Washington State. I also, however, care deeply about women’s reproductive rights, family planning, education and protecting the social safety net. Last session, when this same coalition took control of the Senate, their first proposal eliminated funding for family planning and proposed an additional nearly $100 million cut to K-12 and higher education. More important than my chairmanship is knowing that strong Democratic values that I believe represent a majority of the citizens of Washington State such as the protection of women’s rights and equality will be a top priority for the Washington State Senate.
“Our job is to govern this great state. I will thoughtfully review the Republican proposal and work where I can with my Republican colleagues. Regardless of the power structure, my Democratic values and priorities remain the same. I will fight to ensure that we live in a state that continues to create opportunities for new jobs and the middle class, prioritizes education, and protects and advances women’s reproductive rights, equality and the environment.”
With the 2013 legislative session about one month away, allow me to ask you a question: Would you prefer more coverage than you’ve seen from us in the past year or two of the Legislature, with a focus on lawmakers who represent Whatcom County? Or should we continue to prioritize local city councils and the Whatcom County Council?