Seattle Times Op-Ed: Don’t call the state Senate’s Majority Coalition Caucus bipartisan

December 17th, 2012|

The following Op-Ed written by Sens. Karen Fraser and Ed Murray appeared in the Seattle Times over the weekend:

IT’S a general rule in politics: If one side of the aisle says it’s bipartisan and the other side says it’s not, then it’s not.

Earlier this week, when twenty-three Republicans plus two breakaway Democrats announced plans to seize control of the state Senate from Democrats, they did so in the name of bipartisanship and collaboration.

But it’s a curious kind of bipartisanship that has no room for consultation with the other side. When majority Republicans put forward their idea to radically restructure the Senate, absent was the opportunity for input from the other 24 members of the 49-member body. And when the Republicans said their plan would “put aside party dynamics and focus instead on the needs of all Washingtonians,” it’s clear that the only party dynamics they wish to set aside are Democratic ones.

The Seattle Times editorial page applauded the move as a necessary check against the Democratic House and governor [“State coalition caucus a promising change,” Opinion, Dec. 12]. This argument looks flimsy after Washington voters overwhelmingly selected Democrats for president, senator, a majority of our congressional delegation, governor, all statewide offices except one, and majorities in the state House and Senate.

The fact is, though, the public expects us to work together to move the state forward, no matter who is in charge. This is especially true in the Senate, a diverse body with an unstable balancing point that shifts from issue to issue. After the election, majority Democrats knew that the Senate would descend into dysfunction if we tried to govern with a strict 25-vote strategy, the bare minimum number of votes necessary. […]