The appointment of Dino Rossi to fill out the 5th Legislative District Senate term is not sitting well with its former office holder, Cheryl Pflug.
Pflug, a Republican who represented the 5th Legislative District, released a statement earlier this week endorsing Issaquah Democrat Mark Mullet for the position and spoke well of other Republicans that came forward for the apopintment, including Bob Brunjes and David Irons.
, was sworn in yesterday. Rossi is not eligible to run for the seat -- the Sammamish resident is no longer in the 5th District, which he represented in 1997-2003, after the .
But Washington State Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur called Pflug's thoughts on the matter "irrelevant" in a response press release.
, which she did after the deadline for other candidates to file.
Pflug's press release in its entirety, as reported in The Stranger this week:
Senator Pflug Critizes Rossi Appointment,
Endorses Mark Mullet for Senate
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, July 10th, 2012
Maple Valley-Retiring State Senator Cheryl Pflug expressed grave concerns about the appointment of Dino Rossi today to fill out the remainder of her term. The Senate appointment should be about constituent service, not about using a state office for campaign purposes,” Pflug stated.
"I'm a Republican. I believe Rob McKenna will be a great governor because he’s honest, and he’s a brilliant unifier. That’s why I’m also endorsing Mark Mullet. His business background, financial expertise, and common sense make him the right person to represent all the residents of the 5th District,” said Cheryl Pflug, “not just special interests and party bosses.”
“Mark Mullet is a Democrat, but he’s also a small business owner, and Mullet is well-respected as a moderate, honorable member of the Issaquah City Council. I believe that he will continue to prioritize the needs of people over politics, and he’ll represent our legislative district with integrity and commitment to service. That's important to me, because my family and I live here, too! Also, I know first hand the importance of electing courageous leaders who are loyal to us,” added Pflug.
“Although other experienced and respected Republicans, including David Irons, Jr., came forward, the Senate Republican Campaign Committee decided it would be easier to elect ‘a Republican’ by attacking Mullet and concealing Toft's history of egregious and disreputable behavior,” Pflug continued. “It was a foolish idea to start with, from which they progressed to unconscionable. They’ve essentially road-tested lies via push-polling in preparation for a negative campaign, and they’re trying to silence voices of opposition. That’s another reason that I am speaking up,” explained Pflug. “I’m angry and appalled at the tactics of my former Senate Republican leadership, and I think they and Rossi shame themselves by trying to play Godfather.”
“Although Rossi asserts publicly that he was drafted to fill my vacancy, in truth the Party and Senate Committee strong-armed the local Republican grassroots to get Rossi nominated. The local Republicans and I have refused to support Toft, so the Senate called in Rossi. An initial, hasty attempt to get Rossi appointed by the King County Council stalled; but today, a second hearing was quietly held and Rossi was ultimately appointed. Had I known about the hearing ahead of time, I would have spoken in support of Bob Brunjes, who was also nominated and would have served honorably by dedicating himself to constituent service for the remainder of my term,” declared Pflug.
“They all miss the important point: the Constitution. This is a decision that belongs to an informed electorate, not party bosses intent on gaining personal control the State Senate,” Pflug explained. “So let the people have all the information, and let them vote: no coercion and no cover-up.”
“My nearly 14 years in the legislature has taught me how absolutely essential it is to elect someone with the independence and the courage to represent their constituents, and I choose the word courage very specifically. The people rarely know when they get sold out,” Pflug continued. “In fact, the real heat usually comes for voting your conscience, especially when you have to stand alone. But unless our elected representatives stand firm against things like Medicaid fraud, bigotry, and creative accounting, we are absolutely headed for a future of serving our government — not the reverse.”
“And that brings me back to the importance of full disclosure. Olympia doesn’t build character, it reveals it. The people have a right to know what the Senate Campaign Committee and Rossi already know, concluded Pflug, “BEFORE they vote.”
Washington State Republican Party Chair Kirby Wilbur's press release:
“The process that appointed Dino Rossi to Cheryl Pflug’s old seat was open and honest, the exact same way it was when Cheryl was appointed to her Senate seat in 2003. For her to criticize this transparent appointment process, given how sneaky and deceitful it was for her to make a backroom deal for a cushier position as a bureaucrat, makes her a hypocrite - plain and simple.
“Having Dino in place as a solid Republican will allow the 5th district to finally be represented by someone who reflects their values. Dino is the perfect caretaker for this seat. He doesn’t intend to run for office and he has extensive experience in the Legislature should they be called into another special session. This was a smart, good, grass roots decision for the 5th district and I fully support it. Cheryl should keep her irrelevant thoughts to herself – no one cares.”