Washington State Legislature
8:26 am
Fri April 6, 2012

One month later, Democrats' defection still raw in Wash.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The three Washington Senate Democrats who broke from their caucus last month to vote with Republicans face renewed criticism - from their fellow Democrats. At issue is whether to link a series of government reforms to a plan to rebalance the state budget.

It was more than a month ago that minority Republicans seized control of the Washington senate and passed a budget. They couldn’t have done it without the help of three conservative Democrats: Senators Tim Sheldon, Rodney Tom and Jim Kastama.

Oddly, after the takeover, the three renegades returned to the Democratic caucus room as if nothing had happened. But now residual anger has come back with a vengeance. Democratic State Senator Kevin Ranker says trust and respect levels have been damaged.

“I am extremely frustrated by the three members who crossed over and remain so,” Ranker said.

Senator Rosemary McAuliffe is even more blunt: “There are three Democrats who are holding us hostage and they have held us hostage the whole time.”

The three breakaway Democrats, including Senator Kastama, are unapologetic.

“Really, the confirmation we’ve received from the public is we made the right move,” Kastama said.

The current 30-day special session expires next Tuesday.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network