I RECENTLY WROTE about Washington State Senator Rodney Tom’s deplorable about-face, in which he sided with Republican’s to form a Republican Majority in the State Senate. The stunt was a power grab: in exchange for his crossing party lines, Tom was appointed Senate Majority Leader. Now, Tom is teaming up with Republican State Senator Pam Roach from the 31st Legislative District to complete what can only be described as an act of questionably unethical behavior.
Senator Roach is no stranger to controversy: she has been either issued a warning or reprimanded during almost every year she has been in the Senate, including in 1998, 1999, 2003, 2008, and again in 2010 for, shall we say, unbecoming conduct.
Indeed, Senator Roach has been legally barred in the past from interacting with her staff and has been banned completely from the Republican Caucus. She has been accused of stealing employees’ emails, forcing people to quit, and for brandishing a handgun at a staff member. Given Roach’s tendency for the contentious, she seems a perfect candidate to team up with Tom.
Remember, Tom needed the support of all Republican State Senators, including Pam Roach, to successfully complete his turncoat maneuver. To placate Roach, and to get her to go along with his plan, Tom agreed to lift Roach’s ethical sanctions and to appoint her Chair of the Government Operations Committee. Unfortunately for Washington residents, the committee Roach now Chairs oversees elections, public disclosures, and…ethics in government.
I’ll say that one more time, this time with emphasis: Rodney Tom…appointed Pam Roach…the woman who allegedly brandished a gun at her staff members…Pam Roach…the woman who has been prohibited from contacting former staff members…PAM ROACH…the woman banned from her own political caucus for hostile behavior…as Chair of a committee that oversees ethics in government!
This latest act makes it abundantly clear whose interests Rodney Tom is looking out for: it’s not yours, it’s not mine, it’s his own. Rodney Tom is looking out for Rodney Tom. And that is the biggest act of treachery any elected official can make: to put his or her own interests before those of the public.
Trent Latta can be contacted at TrentLatta@gmail.com.