This Washington

Three Democrats Take Top Committee Spots in Republican-Controlled Senate

By Josh Feit January 14, 2013

Democratic state Sens. Steve Hobbs and Brian Hatfield in the senate wings this morning

Three Democratic state senators have accepted incoming senate majority leader senator Rodney Tom's (D-48) offer to chair committees in the new "Majority Coalition Caucus" that has displaced the Democratic majority. 

The MCC, as it's being called, is made up of 23 Republicans and two renegade Democrats—Tom and conservative senator Tim Sheldon (D-35). By getting three Democrats to agree to Tom's proposed structure, the Majority Coalition Caucus will have an easier time claiming bipartisan status.

Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-44, Lake Stevens) has agreed to chair the Financial Institutions Committee. Sen. Tracey Eide (D-30, Federal Way) has agreed to co-chair the Transportation Committee (with Republican senator Curtis King, R-14, Yakima). And senator Brian Hatfield (D-19, Raymond) has agreed to chair the Agriculture Committee.

The MCC still has the numbers advantage on the Transporation Committee, though, with a 9-7 majority, which Hobbs acknowledged "doesn't seem quite right."

Hobbs's and Hatfield's own committees will have one-vote Democratic advantages.

Hatfield and Hobbs held court with reporters in the senate wings today before the opening ceremonies began.

Asked if he thought joining Tom's set up legitimized the MCC, Hobbs said: "Democrats in my district said if we're going to be in the minority, why not be a minority in a position of strength by taking some chairmanships? And that's my opinion."

We've asked Democaratic caucus leader senator Ed Murray (D-43) for his reaction. 


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