The Senate Majority Coalition Caucus today returned to being the Senate Republican Caucus, although it remains bipartisan.
Five years ago the 23-member Senate Republican Caucus and two Democrat senators joined to take the majority in the Senate. They took the Majority Coalition Caucus name to reflect the new bipartisan collaboration.
Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, is still a member of the caucus and supports its return to the previous caucus name.
“I’m not going anywhere,” said Sheldon. “I am still a strong Democrat, but I also remain committed to the work we are doing in our caucus like protecting taxpayers and promoting jobs, education and a responsible budget.
“People around Washington, especially out on the coast and east of the mountains, need to feel that someone in Olympia is looking out for them – someone who realizes that policies that are a priority in Seattle aren’t necessarily good for all of Washington.
“The other members of the SRC respect my opinion and my feedback and I think Olympia needs more of that bipartisanship.”
The change in control of the Senate resulting from the Nov. 8 election of a Democrat senator in the 45th Legislative District prompted the name change, but the shift in the balance of power is not dampening the mood in the SRC.
“I’ve been bucked off a horse before,” said Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville. “You just get back on and ride it out.
“Majorities change hands and, in the meantime, families in Washington should guard their wallets.” Schoesler will continue as the caucus leader.
During its tenure the MCC made historic achievements. These include:
- Funding education first in the budget
- Levy reform
- Maintaining a 4-year balanced budget, as required by law
- Making a fourth DUI a felony
- Expanding access to higher education through the Real HOPE Act
- Reducing in-state resident tuition at the state’s higher education institutions
- Prioritizing the needs of disabled Washingtonians with the VIP Act
- Writing the two most bipartisan operating budgets in the past 60-70 years
- Passing a $16 billion transportation budget
- Building up and protecting the “Rainy Day Fund” to protect Washington in the event of an economic downturn