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    More changes for Seattle delegation as Sharon Nelson takes Senate post

    She says a minority leader must be tough as well as fair.
    Sen. Sharon Nelson

    Sen. Sharon Nelson John Stang

    The Washington Senate Democratic Caucus elected Sen. Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, as its new minority leader Wednesday. That makes her the chief of a 23-member caucus that will be dominated by a 24-Republican-two-Democrat Majority Coalition Caucus beginning in January.

    “I will do everything in my power to reach across the aisle whenever possible in order to find solutions to anything from budget deficits to fully funding education,” Nelson said in a press release. “But I think being a good leader — especially of a minority party — means you need to be both tough and fair.”

    She has a chance to become Senate majority leader in 2015 if the Democrats pick up two Senate seats in swing districts in the 2014 elections.

    Nelson and Sen. James Hargrove, D- Hoquiam, shared the minority Senate Democrats leadership in budget talks with the majority coalition earlier this year. She was appointed to the Washington House in 2007 and was elected in 2008. She was elected to the Senate in 2010 and is finishing her first term in the upper chamber. She represents the 34th Legislative District, which includes Vashon and Maury islands, West Seattle, Burien and much of North Highline.

    She is a former banker and was chief of staff to Dow Constantine, when he was a King County Council member. Also, Nelson helped lead the fight against gravel mining on Maury Island in 2010.

    The Democratic caucus elected Nelson to replace outgoing Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, who becomes Seattle's mayor in January. Murray has already stepped down as minority caucus leader. On Tuesday, he turned in his resignation from the Senate, which goes into effect on Dec. 31. Murray represents the 43rd District, which is essentially Capitol Hill, the University District and Wallingford.

    The 43rd District’s Democrats’ precinct officers will make their recommendations on replacing Murray to the county Democratic Party, which will make three recommendations to the King County Council. The replacement must be of the same party as the departing legislator. Murray's resignation as senator triggered the process.

    State Rep. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, is interested in the Senate seat and is considered a slam dunk for the appointment.

    If Pedersen moves to the Senate, three people have voiced an interest in his House seat — Brady Walkinshaw of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Democrats' 43rd District chairman Scott Forbes, and Cristina Gonzalez of Seattle's Families and Education Levy Oversight Committee. The three spoke to precinct officers Tuesday. The precinct officers will vote on their recommendations on Dec.3.

    The 43rd District's other state representative is Democratic House Speaker Frank Chopp, who crushed Socialist Kshama Sawant in the last election. But Sawant recently upset incumbent Richard Conlin to take his Seattle City Council seat.

    For exclusive coverage of the state government, check out Crosscut's Olympia 2013 page.

    John Stang covers state government for Crosscut. He can be reached by writing editor@crosscut.com.

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    Posted Thu, Nov 21, 5:22 a.m. Inappropriate

    "Also, Nelson helped lead the fight against gravel mining on Maury Island in 2010."

    Meaning she conspired to misappropriate funds from the Puget Sound Partnership.

    What she really helped do was illustrate that Puget Sound recovery money isn't spent according to "science" but, rather, political agenda and connection.

    Big help.



    Posted Thu, Nov 21, 8:29 a.m. Inappropriate

    Ahhh, politics, where the only people who talk about "reaching across the aisle" are those in the minority. I trust that Ms. Nelson is realistic enough to understand that the Republicans are as disinterested in working together toward solutions as Democrats were when they controlled the gavel because politics are ultimately never about solutions as they are about gamesmanship and partisan advantage.

    Posted Thu, Nov 21, 9:45 a.m. Inappropriate

    How true and thank you for saying it so well.


    Posted Thu, Nov 21, 1 p.m. Inappropriate

    Don't know why anybody even bothers wasting their time being hopeful about state government any more. After Jan Angel's victory in the 26th District, it's clear the Republicans -- that is, the Teabagger/JesuNazi bigots and the Ayn Rand fascists -- now have total control in Olympia. And given the public fury and alienation evoked by the Democratic Party's shift to the union-busting, no-taxes-for-plutocrats, cut-Social-Security, cut-Medicare, exterminate-seniors-and-disabled-people Hard Right, it's obvious we'll soon be another Wisconsin or Michigan. At least the Seattle voters showed some good sense by electing Kshama Sawant, never mind the bright future she personifies will eventually be crushed by the same Moron Nation darkness that put Angel in office. `

    Posted Fri, Nov 22, 7:09 p.m. Inappropriate

    You missed skinheads, Birthers, and Birchers.

    Maybe Seattle can secede and form it's own state. I'd certainly support them.


    Posted Sun, Nov 24, 12:38 a.m. Inappropriate

    I too would support Seattle as the 51st State...even given my 40-year hate-affair with Emeraldtown, which after Kshama Sawant's astounding victory I'm obviously going to have to rethink. (And if I have to eat some crow in the process, so be it; better to be open-minded and teachable rather than closed-minded and wrong.)

    Posted Sun, Nov 24, 7:33 p.m. Inappropriate

    Open-minded and teachable, closed-minded and wrong, these are the only choices you recognize? What happened to open-minded and wrong, closed-minded and right, or closed-minded and teachable? All of these are just as likely to happen as your two choices.

    The only closed-minded and wrong folks I know are at the extreme left and right, and they are usually lonely in their misery about an unjust world and how "they or them" are taking over their country.


    Posted Fri, Nov 22, 6:07 a.m. Inappropriate

    "it's clear the Republicans -- that is, the Teabagger/JesuNazi bigots and the Ayn Rand fascists -- now have total control in Olympia. And given the public fury and alienation evoked by the Democratic Party's shift to the union-busting, no-taxes-for-plutocrats, cut-Social-Security, cut-Medicare, exterminate-seniors-and-disabled-people Hard Right, it's obvious we'll soon be another Wisconsin or Michigan."
    Who knows they might even vote to eliminate fillabusters like the facists at the Federal Level too...right?


    Posted Fri, Nov 22, 6:32 a.m. Inappropriate

    Filibusters, sorry for the typo.


    Posted Fri, Nov 22, 7:22 a.m. Inappropriate

    She's a democrat. She has no idea how to be fair.

    Democrats trip over themselves to hand huge tax breaks to rich corporations and Sharon Nelson is no exception. She went down to Olympia to vote FOR those huge tax breaks for Boeing in that special session Inslee called two weeks ago:


    Democrats don't tax corporations to ensure they pay their fair share, and they impose tax hike after tax hike targeting the lower middle class.

    The only democrats that flourish in Washington State are those that loathe the notion of progressive taxing. Look at Ed Murray's record in the state legislature – all he did was push for legislation making the tax impacts on the less-well-off worse, and he never advocated for progressive taxing strategies.

    Elsewhere in the country democrats are liberal. They try to level the playing field and work for social justice. That's essentially what “liberal” means. Here though the democrats want to increase the wealth gap between the rich and the poor by using nasty taxation policies.

    The democratic party leaders and their functionaries now in power made their careers here authorizing sales taxes and car tab taxes for local taxing districts and then working to impose them. Those are the singular accomplishments of Frank Chopp, Ed Murray, Greg Nickels, Dow Constantine, Larry Phillips, etc. McGinn followed suit. Constantine and Phillips now are pushing for higher sales taxes and car tab taxes for Metro, instead of questioning the management of Metro, explaining why additional tax revenue might be needed, or advocating for a revenue-raiser not designed to hit the families with the least the hardest.

    Look at how “tax the people with the least the heaviest” is the unvarying theme of the democrats. King County Metro’s high taxing targeting the middle class and poor dates from its first sales tax in 1972. Then Metro doubled its sales tax in 1980. Then the democrats around here really started going to town. They controlled King County and hiked its sales taxes again for Metro in 2000, and then again in 2006. In 2011 the democrats began collecting an additional car tab tax. That completely unaccountable municipality Sound Transit was designed and operated by democrats. It got a big sales tax and car tab tax from the democrats in the state legislature in 1992, and the local democrats began imposing those with gusto. Another unaccountable local taxing district (the Seattle Popular Monorail Authority) was created and authorized to impose heavy car tab taxes. It did that for over three years, and completely wasted all that tax revenue. Now we pay 1.8% sales tax just for transit, plus car tab taxes, plus a property tax – far more regressive taxing and higher overall taxing compared with everywhere else in the country. People in most metro areas with light rail pay little or no new regressive taxes for it.

    Seattle had a modest payroll tax a few years back, and then the city council repealed that progressive tax. What did it replace it with? You guessed it, a TBD car tab fee the democrats in the state legislature had just handed it!

    What are the democrats here pushing now? Higher car tab taxes both for Metro and the Seattle TBD. What do they want three years from now? More regressive taxes for Sound Transit. When he's mayor Murray will push for “city-only” regressive taxes on top of that for more light rail.

    What don't the democrats want? Paying for transit the fair way, the way the peers do: not much new local taxing and progressive taxing only to the extent needed.

    Nelson will do the same -- guaranteed. She pays lip service to fairness though . . . that's what the party wants.


    Posted Sat, Nov 23, 2:03 p.m. Inappropriate

    Might be fun to lock lorenbliss and crossrip in a cage, or a mud-wrestling arena. Let them settle it, and wear each other out.


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