- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2014

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - The predominantly-Republican majority in the Senate has demoted a Democratic chairman to co-chairman of that chamber’s banking and housing committee.

On a 26-23 caucus-line vote Monday, the Majority Coalition Caucus installed Sen. Jan Angel, a Republican from Port Orchard, to be co-chair along with Democratic Sen. Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens, who previously had sole chairmanship of the Financial Institutions, Housing and Insurance Committee. Angel was elected to the Senate in a special election in November, and she faces re-election later this year, along with about half of the Senate.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Hobbs noted that he often voted with the MCC, and said he became chairman last year in the spirit of bipartisanship offered by the caucus. Now Sen. Brian Hatfield is the only Democrat to be a lone chairman of a committee, the Agriculture, Water & Rural Economic Development Committee. Democratic Sen. Tracey Eide is co-chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, along with Republican Sen. Curtis King.

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