Senate Law & Justice Committee chair, Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley) has an NRA A+ rating
  • Senate Law & Justice Committee chair, Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley) has an NRA "A+" rating

Meet state Senator Mike Padden (R-Spokane Valley), Senate "Majority" Leader Rodney Tom's handpicked, NRA endorsed choice to lead the Senate Law & Justice Committee, the committee with control over Washington State's gun laws:

The National Rifle Association - Political Victory Fund has endorsed Senator Mike Padden in his bid for re-election. Citing Senator Padden's" knowledge of the issues" and his "A+ rating" by the NRA, Washington State Liaison Brian Judy congratulated Senator Padden on the endorsement.

Had the will of the voters been honored, the Law & Justice Committee would have remained in the hands of Senator Adam Kline (D-Seattle), one of the few members of the Senate with a record of speaking out forcefully in favor of tougher gun laws. Kline never made much progress on the issue—he never even had enough Democratic votes to back him up—but under his chairmanship one could be assured that gun legislation would get a fair hearing. Under Padden, not so much.

I'd hoped that given his NRA endorsement, Padden would at least be a straight shooter on the issue, so I contacted his office yesterday by phone and by email asking for comment on what might be done legislatively in the wake of yesterday's tragedy. Through his legislative aide, Padden declined:

Senator Padden is out of town today and tomorrow and is tied up in meetings, so he is unable to talk to you at this time regarding the tragedy in Connecticut. Please join Senator Padden in keeping all the victims and affected families in prayer. Thank you.

Trust me when I tell you that politicians always find a few minutes to get back to a reporter... when the politician has something to say that they think the public wants to hear.

Politics has consequences. And one of the consequences of Rodney Tom's decision to betray his party and his constituents is that any hope of having a debate in the Senate over sensible gun legislation is as dead as... well... I don't particularly feel like finishing the metaphor that comes to mind.