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Sen. Pam Roach says she was 25th vote needed for GOP budget
Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, says she joined Republicans to seize control of the state Senate on Friday and pass a GOP budget partly in return for being allowed to rejoin the caucus.
"I was the 25th vote, and my caucus finally did the right thing," Roach said in an interview on the Senate floor.
Roach was banned from the Senate GOP caucus in 2010 after an internal investigation found she'd berated a lawyer for the Senate Republicans, telling him he should be fired. The inquiry said Roach had "engaged in a very personal, demeaning attack" and created a hostile work environment.
She was able to vote, but for two years was barred from the caucus room where her colleagues discussed legislation, and could not deal directly with caucus staff or counsel. Roach disputed the accusations, saying she was being singled out and that the GOP leadership "wants to persecute me."
You can read a story I wrote about Roach, and what happened, here.
The Roach connection wasn't obvious when Republicans took control Friday. Attention was focused on three Democratic senators who crossed party lines: Sens. Tim Sheldon of Potlatch, Rodney Tom of Bellevue and Jim Kastama of Puyallup.
Roach had been seen meeting with Democratic leaders before the Republican coup. She acknowledged getting a briefing on their budget. "I saw a lot of good things in both budgets," Roach said.
Senate Republican Leader Mike Hewitt, R-Walla Walla, would only say "She was admitted back to the caucus before she decided to be the 25th vote."
He noted that given that 25 senators voted for the GOP budget, "everybody is the 25th vote."
But not all those who voted yes were on the bubble.
"When it got down to it there were some things I was asking of my caucus ... one of them was the full restoration of going back into the caucus and access to staff. And that occurred," Roach said.
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