The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions
Jerry Cornfield | jcornfield@heraldnet.com
Published: Monday, January 27, 2014, 6:19 p.m.

Hobbs demoted, says Republicans playing politics

(Updated with clarifying information at end of original post)

Republicans controlling the Senate majority flexed their political muscle today and in the process may have repelled a centrist Democrat known for siding with them on key government reforms.

The Majority Coalition Caucus voted to demote Democratic Sen. Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens as chairman of the Senate Financial Institutions, Housing and Insurance Committee and make him share leadership duties with Republican Sen. Jan Angel.

All 26 members of the coalition approved the move while the 23 members of the minority Democratic caucus opposed it.

Today, before the vote, Hobbs appealed to moderate Republicans to break ranks with their caucus leadership to support him – just as he had gone against his caucus to help them pass reforms of worker compensation and education in 2013.

"I hope you stand with me" and vote against the move, he said in a floor speech.

It didn't work and afterwards he said it appeared moderates had caved into the right-wing in the caucus.

But Hobbs said moderate Republicans can demonstrate independence if they will help pass the Dream Act, which would make immigrant students eligible for state financial aid, and a transportation package. He hinted strongly he might not support coalition reform bills this session until the Senate acts on those measures.

"I'm hopeful that we'll work together," he said.

A Majority Coalition Caucus leader rejected Hobbs' insinuations that politics drove the decision.

"This is not a political move," said Sen. Linda Parlette, R-Wenatchee, who is chairwoman of the caucus.

Angel, of Port Orchard, has worked in the banking and insurance industries and is a perfect fit for the committee. She was elected to the Senate in November.

"We are taking advantage of the talents one of our members has," she said.

When asked why the decision didn't come prior to the start of the session, she said: "We didn't even talk about these things before the session began."

Until today, Hobbs and Sen. Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond, had been the only Democrats holding chairmanships in the Senate. Hatfield is leader of the Agriculture, Water and Rural Economic Development Committee. (NOTE: The Majority Coalition Caucus did offer committee chairmanships to eight Democrats in January 2013 and only Hobbs and Hatfield accepted.)



Sign up for HeraldNet headlines Newsletter
See sample | Privacy policy

Most recent The Petri Dish posts

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

» More local news


HeraldNet highlights

Looking for a friend?
Looking for a friend?: Animals up for adoption at the Everett shelter (new photos)
Quietly radical 'Boyhood'
Quietly radical 'Boyhood': Unique film explores awkward years with grace
Scarlett gets serious
Scarlett gets serious: Johansson finds her stride in 'Lucy'
'What's next?'
'What's next?': 7 questions for the offense as Seahawks hit training camp