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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Dems Lose Control Under Power-Sharing Coup In Washington Senate

Austin Jenkins

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.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."