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Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2013 2:52 pm

 The 5th Legislative District (LD) Democrats last night voted here to censure state Sens. Rodney Tom (D-Medina) and Tim Sheldon (D-Potlatch) after the two Democratic senators joined the Republican caucus and shifted the majority vote in the Senate to Republicans.

The move by Tom and Sheldon effectively negates the substantial effort by many Democrats in the 5th LD, which stretches from Issaquah to Snoqualmie Pass, to elect Mark Mullet a state senator from that district. Mullet, a member of the Issaquah City Council, was elected the first Democratic senator from the 5th LD in years in the November election.

“What Rodney Tom and Tim Sheldon have done is a travesty against the values of the Democratic party,” said Konrad Roeder, the North Bend precinct committee officer who wrote the resolution. “We are joining other Democrats in this state who have withdrawn their support for Tom and Sheldon.”

Democrats in one other legislative district – the 43rd (Capitol Hill) – have also censured the two senators for crossing party lines. In Tom’s home district, the 48th, the party voted to withdraw financial support for Tom, calling the senator’s decision to side with Republicans “perfidious behavior.” Similar action is expected by the King County Democratic party and other legislative districts.

Before the two senators’ move on Monday, Republicans in the Senate had a 23-vote minority. The decision by Tom and Sheldon to vote with Republicans turned that into a 25-vote majority. As part of the deal, Tom became the new majority leader and Sheldon became president pro tempore of the Senate.

The 5th Legislative District includes Issaquah, Maple Valley, North Bend, Snoqualmie, Carnation and Snoqualmie Pass.

Also at the meeting, members of the 5th LD elected Jim Baum, of Maple Valley, to be chair of the 5th District Democrats for another two-year term. Baum was first elected chair of the group in 2010.

5th District Democrats meet in Issaquah the third Wednesday of every month.

Contacts: Jim Baum, chair, 5th District Democrats (chair@5thdems.org, 425-864-0956)

Scott Williams, communications director, 5th District Democrats (communications@5thdems.org, 425-985-1456)

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