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.
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?
Tags: Bob Marshall Delaware, Brian Pettyjohn Delaware, Bryan Townsend Delaware, El Somnambulo, Ernesto Lopez Delaware, Harris McDowell Delaware, Karen Peterson Delaware, Nicole Poore Delaware, Patti Blevins Delaware, Pete Schwartzkopf Delaware, Steve Tanzer Delaware