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Controversial State Senate Leader To Step Down

senator lisa brown

After 20 years in the Washington State Senate, Democratic Majority Leader Lisa Brown will not seek re-election.

The sometimes controversial leader has spent eight years leading the 27-22 Democratic Majority in the upper house in Olympia. Brown was often associated with controversial issues in the legislature, such as in 2009 when she sought to invalidate Initiative 601 (1993) that required a 2/3rds vote requirement to pass tax increases. The State Supreme Court ruled against her saying the judiciary cannot interfere in an internal legislative process.

She also came under fire in January this year for the following comment:

“to reach the ultimate goal of amply funding basic education as we’ve now defined it is going to require a new dedicated revenue source.”

Other legislators pointed out that the State can cut and/or move money from one program to another to fund what they see fit, and that currently, education is not an area that is underfunded.  GOP Leaders criticized her for seeking more taxes, or “dedicated revenue” sources. She also attracted significant attention in January 2009 for a meeting with controversial activist Van Jones in Olympia.

She also battled with Republican leaders this spring in Olympia as Senators Mark Schoessler and others (with help from a few Democrats) pushed  the Republican Budget bill through the Senate.  It had more significant cuts than the Democratic proposal. Already a number of other candidates are being considered to run for her position as Democratic Leader once her term ends.

Her announcement was considered surprising and abrupt, and will certainly affect the balance of politics in our state’s capitol.

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