Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Lt. Gov. vs Sen. Pam Roach.

Full disclosure: I worked for Sen. Roach in 2003.

I got caught up in a turf war between Sen. Roach and Sen. Jim West, Senate Majority Leader... and the rest is painful and frequently distorted history.

That said, here's the take from the fine folks at the Olympian.

What Lt. Gov. Owen had to say to Sen. Pam Roach

Staff writer     February 17, 2015 

State Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn (left) and Lt. Gov. Brad Owen.

State Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, was chastised again in writing Friday for her behavior at the Legislature.

This time, the admonishment came from Lt. Gov. Brad Owen, and it focused on how Roach treated a member of a food-industry organization who testified before the committee Roach chairs.

According to Owen’s letter, during a Feb. 5 hearing Roach engaged in a “stunningly inappropriate series of questions and comments” regarding a bill the organization supported and Roach disliked, with Roach noting the group had chosen to support her opponent in the 2014 election.

“We have never before seen such a raw and public display connecting campaign contributions to legislative action,” Owen’s letter reads.

The letter from Owen also details a history of past Roach offenses and a few other criticisms about how she deals with staff, ultimately telling Roach she won’t be able to meet alone anymore with committee staffers.

It’s the first time Owen has issued a letter sanctioning a senator for an ongoing pattern of behavior, his office said Tuesday. Owen has been the state’s lieutenant governor, who also acts as president of the Senate, since 1997.

A few highlights from Owen’s “partial list of inappropriate behavior” by Roach:

• Roach spoke for more than one-third of her committee’s meeting time on Feb. 5, according to Owen. “People appear before your committee to provide information and answer questions; they do not appear in order to hear you talk,” Owen wrote. “Our goal is to hear from the people, not ourselves.”

• Owen told Roach her treatment of the man from the food-industry organization “mirrors your history of poor decisions.”

• “Sixteen years of inappropriate and unprofessional conduct is enough,” Owen wrote, referencing a long list of past complaints and sanctions against Roach.

Roach told a reporter Tuesday that the fact that she heard the food-industry association’s bill in the first place shows that she is a fair committee chairwoman.

"I was actually doing them a fricking favor,” Roach said. “I was doing them a favor hearing a bill I don't like.”

Below is the full copy of Owen’s four-page letter to Roach, along with the two-page complaint from the Washington Food Industries Association that prompted him to write it.

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