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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Cheryl Pflug

Sunday Spin: GOP intrigue in the 5th Lege District

OLYMPIA – To the unpracticed political eye, the dog days of summer might have been declared last week when what’s left of the Capitol press corps showed up for the swearing-in of a replacement legislator who might never cast a vote from the floor of the Senate.

But this was not some little-known partisan retainer getting the “thrill” of sticking Sen. in front of his name for a few months. Dino Rossi was raising one hand, putting the other on a Bible and swearing to uphold the U.S. and state constitutions, and the other things legislators-to-be must promise before crossing to the realm of legislators who are. . .

To read the rest of this item or to comment, go inside the blog.

To read the press release and letter connected to this story, click here.


  

War of words over Rossi appointment continues

OLYMPIA — First former Sen. Cheryl Pflug criticized the appointment of Dino Rossi to her old seat (which was his seat before it was hers).

Then State GOP Chairman Kirby Wilbur criticized Pflug for criticizing the appointment.

Today, Pflug fires back at Wilbur in an “open letter.”

True, this is the 5th Legislative District, which is in eastern suburban King County, so it's far away from Spokane. But the 5th used to be one of our districts, back before the 1991 redistricting snatched it away and plunked it down in Pugetopolis.

And besides, it's a pretty interesting fight.

The text of Wilbur's press release, and Pflug's letter, are inside the blog. Click here to read them, or to comment, or both.

Rossi sworn in as fill-in senator

Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson swears in Dino Rossi to a state Senate seat.

OLYMPIA — Republican Dino Rossi is back in his old Senate seat for five months after being sworn in this afternoon in by Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson.

Rossi was appointed by the King County Council to fill the seat vacated by Sen. Cheryl Pflug, who resigned to take a gubernatorial appointment to the Growth Management Board. Rossi held the seat before Pflug, retiring to run for governor in 2004

She was critical of that appointment Tuesday, saying GOP officials “strong-armed” precinct committee officers into putting Rossi's name on the list of nominees sent to the council. “I’m angry and appalled at the tactics of my former Senate Republican leadership, and I think they and Rossi shame themselves by trying to play Godfather.”

Pflug is supporting a Democrat, Mark Mullet, for the seat, contending he has the “business background, financial expertise and common sense” to hold the job.

State GOP Chairman Kirby Wilbur said there was nothing underhanded about the way Rossi was named to fill the seat; it was the same process that put her in the spot in 2003, after Rossi quit to run for governor the first time.

“For her to criticize this transparent appointment process, given how sneaky and deceitful it was for her to make a backroom deal for a cushier position as a bureaucrat, makes her a hypocrite - plain and simple,” Wilbur shot back.

Rossi said he hadn't talked to Pflug since she left office, but has no plans to run for any elective office in the future. He can't run for the Senate seat because he's been moved into another district by this year's redistricting. He only qualifies to hold the seat until November, when the new districts take effect.

He said he will keep his day job in commercial real estate investment and  concentrate on constituent services. He's been appointed the top Republican on the Senate Ways and Means Committee, a spot left open by the retirement of Sen. Joe Zarelli of Ridgefield. 

Dino Rossi returns

OLYMPIA — Dino Rossi is once again a state senator.

The King County Council voted today to appoint Rossi — the former GOP standard bearer for governor in 2004 and 2008, and for U.S. Senate in 2010 — to an opening in the Senate.

The 5th Legislative District Senate seat became open when Republican Cheryl Pflug accepted a gubernatorial appointment to the Growth Management Hearings Board, just days after filing for the office closed. The district has a pair of candidates, Republican Brad Toft and Democrat Mike Mullet, and the winner of the November election will take office as soon as the results are certified.

But in the meantime, the good people of eastern King County's 5th Lege District would be without a senator.  Rossi's name was among those submitted by the GOP.

Rossi held the position before Pflug.

It's not clear how much senator-ing Rossi will get to do in his new/old seat. The Legislature doesn't start a regular session until January, and doesn't have a special session scheduled.

At least not yet.

Another legislator out: Pflug to take GMA Board slot

OLYMPIA — The number of vacant seats in the Legislature continues to grow, as Sen. Cheryl Pflug accepted a gubernatorial appointment Monday to the Growth Management Hearings Board.

Pflug, R-Maple Valley, represents the suburban King County 5th Legislative District, first elected to the House in 1998, then appointed to the Senate in 2004 when Dino Rossi resigned to run for governor. (Those with really long memories might recall that the 5th District used to be located in Spokane County prior to 1992.)

Gov. Chris Gregoire announced this afternoon she was appointing Pflug to a six-year term on the board, which settles disputes over planning and development issues in cities and counties around the state, and two representatives each from Eastern Washington, Central Puget Sound, and the rest of the state West of the Cascades.

Pflug filed for re-election last week, listing her party preference as “Independent GOP Party.” She will have to withdraw from that race because she can't serve on the board and in the Legislature. That leaves the seat to a race between Democrat Mark Mullet and Republican Brad Toft.

It's also at least the third surprise departure from the Senate this month. Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, announced May 3 that she was retiring and Sen. Joe Zarelli of Ridgefield, the top Republican on the Ways and Means Committee and a key player in this year's budget negotiations, announced last Friday that he'd had enough, too.

Spec Sess Day 16: Health care laws signed

OLYMPIA – Washington will stay in the forefront of federal health care reform, and could save as much as $26 billion over the next decade, with a half dozen bills signed into law Wednesday.

Even though the federal health care reforms are being challenged in court and by critics in Congress, Gov. Chris Gregoire and other state officials said the new state laws are needed now. They also make Washington eligible for federal funds while giving the state the chance to reshape health care to fit its needs.

“We can’t sit back and wait,” State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler said. “Doing nothing means the feds are going to take over.”

To read the rest of this story, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.
  

WA Lege Day 37: Dogs on chains

OLYMPIA – Keeping a dog chained up in unsafe conditions could get the owner fined under a proposed state law being considered by the state Senate.

Good senators, said supporters who told the Senate Judiciary that chained or tethered dogs are more likely to turn mean and sometimes deliberately mistreated so they’ll be angry watchdogs at drug or gang houses.

Bad senators, said opponents who argued existing law already protects dogs from unsafe conditions whether they are chained or running free. Most dog bites, and all recent deaths caused by dog attacks, occurred with dogs that weren’t chained, they said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee isn’t quite ready to roll over on the issue…

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

Wrapup: I-960 suspension passes the Senate

OLYMPIA – The Legislature would be able to raise taxes this session and next with a simple majority vote under a bill approved Tuesday in the state Senate.

In the most contentious Senate debate this year – one that constantly invoked “the will of the people” and at one point became a showdown between grandmas in the chamber – Democrats suspended the need for a supermajority on tax increases imposed by voters in 2007.

Just hours after a 26-23 victory, however, they said they’d made a mistake and intended to suspend all the requirements of Initiative 960, including the need for statewide advisory votes on any tax they choose to raise. Sen. Margarita Prentice, D-Renton, the bill’s prime sponsor, said in an evening press release the majority party will bring up a new version to the Senate floor “as soon as possible … to suspend I-960 in full until July 2011.” (WEDS update: Senate Democrats expect to introduce a bill to “fix” that problem sometime today and suspend all of I-960 for that time period. No time table at this point but watch Spin Control for updates.)


To read the rest of this story, click here to go inside the blog.

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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