Blevins Does Superb Job on Senate Committee Assignments.

Filed in Delaware, National by on December 29, 2012

Really. This is not snark. President Pro-Tempore Patti Blevins has served up an almost ideal set of committee chairs/committees. Thank you, Senator.

I have only two caveats before I heap praise on her:

The Bond Bill Committee is too downstate-centric, IMHO.

With the perceived conflict-of-interest on the SEU, Harris McDowell should not chair the Energy/Transit Committee.

That’s it.

Here’s what I like/love (in committee alphabetical order):

Banking: Bryan Townsend will chair, and Blevins has given him a committee he can work with. Townsend stated that he wants to work on the foreclosure issue and, with AG Biden as an ally, there is potential for some good work here.

Children, Youth & Families: McDowell has always done his best work here, and the addition of Poore and Lopez to this committee are pluses.

Education: This committee needed some new thinking, and the additions of Townsend, Poore, and Lopez will help to ensure that this most important of committees does not act as a rubber-stamp to the Markell Administration.

Finance: I’m glad that McDowell will co-chair the JFC. Why? Because he and Dennis P. Williams were the two main legislators to stand up to the Markell Administration when Markell tried to cut Medicaid benefits by $92/month. Williams is gone, and Speaker Schwartzkopf has installed Markell surrogates and/or dummies on the JFC. Plus, Karen Peterson is on JFC now! Anybody, besides the Governor, missing Tiny Tony DeLuca at all?

Labor & Industrial Relations: If chair Bob Marshall wants to pass minimum wage legislation in January, he has the committee to at least get it to the floor: Peterson, Poore and McBride.

Sunset: In stark contrast to Speaker Schwartzkopf’s apparent attempts to reward career non-entities  (Gerald Brady, Stephanie Bolden, and Andria Viola, anyone?), Blevins has put some of the best and brightest newcomers on the committee. This is a very important committee with the ability to review, and either change or terminate the operation of certain state and quasi-state agencies. Blevins maintained the institutional memory of the committee by having Dave Sokola on the committee, but she added Nicole Poore (chair), Bryan Townsend, Ernesto Lopez and Brian Pettyjohn. Yes, it’s an inexperienced group, but this committee has the potential to be a positive force for change. Oh, and to hopefully balance out the spiteful appointments of Pete Schwartzkopf to this committee. I just can’t let this go. Schwartzkopf stated that the Sunset is a committee where newer legislators can learn state government. Then, why no Paul Baumbach, why no Trey Paradee? Because he didn’t want Sunset Committee members capable of critical thinking. Proof’s in the appointments.

Granted, Blevins had more to work with. Four completely new legislators, all of whom have been praised by people who know them. Yes, I’ve even heard good things about Pettyjohn. The early line is he’s more Simpson than Bonini or Lavelle, a good thing indeed. This influx of new blood in the Senate was needed, but it took Blevins to put them in positions where they could have an impact right away.

It’s too soon to tell, but it looks like the Senate may well become the body that functions more independently of the Executive Branch, while the House, under Speaker Schwartzkopf, becomes a rubber-stamp for the Governor.

Anybody, besides the Governor, miss Tiny Tony at all?

I don’t.

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  1. John Young says:

    Education chair is far too aligned in ideology and practice to the governor. I share your enthusiasm about the new members, but they will have a tough row upstream with Sokola at the helm. If they work hard, Sokola’s impact can be neutralized.

  2. Mike says:

    I like that the Speaker’s only reason for making Q. Johnson chair of Capitol Infrastructure was “I wanted him in leadership”…. Nevermind the fact that the guy apparently has never been on the committee before and has no relevant background in anything infrastructure related.

    http://blogs.delawareonline.com/firststatepolitics/2012/12/21/schwartzkopf-bounces-keeley-from-top-committee-post/

    And who is Bill Carson and what/who did he do to get on JFC?

  3. Both Johnson and Carson voted for Schwartzkopf, which is why they’re where they are. I have no problem w/Johnson as Bond Bill chair, however. He’s smart, and he’s been an outstanding legislator so far. And it’s not as if Keeley got thrown off the committee. She’s still on it.

    But Carson is a non-entity who is incapable of even understanding what’s going on in JFC, much less thinking for himself. I can only conclude that Schwartzkopf wants it that way. Oh, and so does the Governor.

  4. dogbert32 says:

    The Sunset Committee is not for newer legislators to learn about state government. It is the most important and substantive committee in our state, and requires extensive institutional knowledge. No freshman legislators should ever be put on it, and especially not to chair it.

    To say that either Schwartzkopf’s or Blevin’s appointments to the Sunset Committee are anything but a travesty is to show complete ignorance about the magnitude of the responsibility of the Committee. To call them “ideal” is nearly the height of idiotic absurdity. Intelligence is certainly necessary for the Sunset Committee, but understanding the functioning of our governmental system is vastly more important, and without it, the Committee is doomed, which is exactly how Jack Markell wants it, and precisely why Blevins and Schwartzkopf have made it that way.

    The Sunset Committee will do nothing. The Public Advocate’s failures to protect the Delaware taxpayer will go undeterred. And both the House and the Senate are going to be rubber stamps for the Governor.

  5. Yo, Dogbert. I was the Research Analyst for the Joint Sunset Committee for two years before I was hired by the Senate.

    I, um, think I know a wee little more about the committee than you do.

  6. dogbert32 says:

    If you know more about the committee, then you would vehemently attack the statement that “the Sunset is a committee where newer legislators can learn state government,” and not suggest other freshman legislators. But then again, if you actually had the political knowledge or insight that you so often pretend, you wouldn’t think the Senate was going to be independent from Markell under Blevins, you wouldn’t have supported Schwartzkopf for as Speaker before the committee assignments came out (you had specifically responded to me before that he was not going to be vindictive in his assignments, so who was right there?), and you’re yearly “progressive” lists wouldn’t be so incredibly awful (another place where you think freshman legislators who have done nothing but get elected can appropriately be placed in high levels).

    Also, maybe you shouldn’t presume about the experience others have, since you clearly have no idea there either.

  7. Well, I’d rather have newer and more interested legislators on the committee than some of people who never bothered even showing up for meetings or public hearings. The reason why hacks like Brady and Bolden are on the committee is b/c Sunset Committee members get an additional stipend, a reward for their supporting Pete. Freshman legislators like Baumbach and Paradee were infinitely preferable to Brady and Bolden. And the committee has often been seen as a place for freshmen to get their feet wet, whether you or I like it or not.

    Uh, I did NOT predict that Schwartzkopf would not be vindictive, I expressed my hope that he would not. And I did not support him for Speaker.

    Finally, you DO have the option of not reading whatever I write, you know. Especially when it upsets you so. Accordingly, I suggest that you either do that, or perhaps consider bringing facts, rather than over-the-top assertions, to the table next time.

  8. dogbert32 says:

    You also have the option of not reading what I write. Did you not realize that?

    Also, you should try a little harder to remember what you wrote.

    “Pete will be a good speaker”

    “I don’t expect the type of retribution you mentioned b/c the committees will do their work, and Pete can’t run the House the way that Uncle Thurm ran the Senate. I don’t think he’d want to.”

    (Notice the word “hope” is used in neither of those statements by you. Also, you really should stop presuming. Upset? Now you have made erroneous presumptions twice. Well, just about me. Your presumptions about Schwartzkopf and other matters, such as the Atkins and the Corrections Committee, were also wrong)

  9. Right, Dogbert. I think anyone who has read what I’ve written on these topics knows that you’re cherry-picking. Did you not read the ‘Memo to Pete: You’re Not Speaker Yet” piece?

    Really, it’s a new year. Find something meaningful to do with your life. I just don’t see how aspiring to be the next Joe Conner is exactly fraught with meaning.

  10. dogbert32 says:

    Cherry picking? Those were your responses to me, which was exactly what I was talking about (and your Memo to Pete came long after). But no, go ahead and continue to fling insults to make yourself feel good.

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