Sheldon not walking his bipartisan talk

OlympiaJanuary 16, 2013 

This week, as the state Legislature convenes, it seems that our Sen. Tim Sheldon will not be representing his constituents who elected him as a Democrat.

Sadly, he has joined the “Republicans Plus Two” take-over of the Senate. He claims this will be a “grand experiment” in bipartisanship, but his past record and the upcoming so-called “bipartisan” committee structure leave us dismayed.

Sheldon claims the new committees will be bipartisan. Yet, we don’t see that happening when the committees “given” to the Democrats to chair only meet twice a week and those given to the Republicans meet three times – creating an obvious imbalance in time spent on complicated policy matters.

And we don’t see that happening when major committees are chaired only by Rs with no apparent gesture to create co-chairs from each party. To top it off, the Rules Committee (which determines which bills go forward) has been set up with such a big R-majority that it will be extremely difficult for Democrats to move any bill forward for full Senate consideration.

We wonder if Sheldon can really set aside his conservative values and make a good-faith effort to forge consensus. He talks, even on this editorial page, of a new commitment to work in a bipartisan fashion, but the actions of the “Republicans Plus Two” so far don’t appear to be bipartisan at all.

If Sheldon wants to be an independent or a Republican, he should state so publicly and take the consequences. Count us as skeptical.

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