House Committee Assignments: The Good, The Bad, The Ridiculous

Filed in Delaware, Featured by on January 7, 2019 16 Comments

Guess Speaker Pete decided that Sunday afternoon was a good time to release the House Committee assignments. As if we wouldn’t notice. The short story: This is decidedly the handiwork of Pete Schwartzkopf, with his police pals and his hangers-on getting plum assignments. 

You can check out the assignments here.  Just click on each committee to view the full membership.

We might as well get the most ridiculous assignment out of the way first.  Newly assigned to the Agriculture Committee is–Sherry Dorsey Walker, who made the mistake of clobbering Park City Kathy in that LG race two years ago. I understand that most of the agricultural areas are represented by R’s.  But he didn’t make this assignment by accident. Pretty much anybody else would have made more sense than Walker for this spot.  Leadership is nothing if not vindictive.

Oh, and when it comes to rewarding cronies, the Appropriations Committee is another case in point.  I have no problem with either Q. Johnson or Earl Jaques. They, at least, are capable of independent thought. The other two D’s? How about self-dealer Stephanie Bolden and terminally-dumb Lumpy Carson? Keep in mind that this is an important committee. The membership of this committee is also the House membership for the Joint Finance Committee. They write the budget.  Thankfully, someone else does the writing, so it’s not in crayon.

The committee that was created specifically to serve as a launching pad for the political fortunes of Bryon Short (insert implosion jokes here) is still there, and is basically a committee that will once again be under the thumb of the Chamber of Commerce.  The, wait for it, “Economic Development/Banking/Insurance/Commerce” Committee, aka The Business Lapdog Committee, is once again dominated by D’s who have voted against minimum wage increases and for the privatization of handouts to business. We’re talking Quin Johnson and Andria Bennett, Del-Tech’s new ‘rabbi’ Bill Bush, and Ray Seigfried, who made his bones with Christiana Health Care.  Not to mention, the jury is still out on Krista Griffith. The best we can hope for? That not many bills find their way into this committee. That is a false hope. There is no excuse to have a House committee with this much authority so subject to the whims of the business interests. At least not while D’s control the House Chamber. This committee should be broken up.

The House Veterans Committee of course remains a joke, with 27 out of 41 reps assigned to the committee. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that every freshman rep is on the committee, all the better to collect political chits for their first reelection campaigns.

It’s not all bad. I like the composition of the House Education Committee, even with Earl Jaques as chair. I was concerned that Ray Seigfried, who has a lot of connections to the charter school network, would be placed on the committee. But he wasn’t, and the committee looks reasonably friendly to the needs of public schools and their students.

I like the Capital Infrastructure (Bond Bill) Committee assignments. Others that I like include Health and Human DevelopmentHousing & Community Affairs, and sorta Judiciary, although I have concerns about both Bill Bush and Franklin Cooke ( yet another ex-cop)  on the committee.

I have real concerns about the Corrections Committee.  I think Melissa Minor-Brown will be an asset as chair. But, again, we’ve got Ol’ Lump (I know, I know, Vaughn Correctional is in his district, how’s that working out so far?), two ex-cops, and Gerald Brady, who doesn’t exactly add any candlepower to what should be a very pro-active committee.

These are my first takes on the assignments.  What do you think?



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  1. AQC says:

    I lol’d at Val Longhurst as chair of the Ethics Committee.

  2. Joshua W says:

    I’m surprised that you didn’t mention progressive stalwart Sean Lynn finally getting the chair of the Judiciary committee.

  3. That’s what I liked about Judiciary. Was concerned that both Bush and ex-cop Cooke were on it.

    Bill Bush was one of Lonnie’s guys on the Del-Tech board. He led the fight to force out the Board’s first choice to succeed Lonnie so that Mark Brainard could become Del-Tech’s head. He’s also been an attorney for the House Caucus. I’m concerned that he’s an insider who will be one of Pete’s henchmen from Jump Street.

  4. Alby says:

    The usual excuse for an assignment like Dorsey-Walker’s is that this will educate her on the issues in agriculture. Because heaven forbid she spend her time instead educating farm-district Sussex rednecks about urban problems. There are a lot more rednecks than urban representatives in the GA, so who should be educating whom?

    The benefit to leadership of marginalizing her should be obvious.

  5. BTW, lest you think that Pete Schwartzkopf ISN’T a vindictive asshole, just take a look at the committee assignments for Paul Baumbach, a perceived challenger to Pete. No chairmanships, or even vice-chair appointments. Baumbach’s stewardship of the Manufactured Housing Committee was brilliant. What Pete did is deliberate.

    Just wanted you to know, and Pete to know that we know.

  6. BTWBTW, the same holds true for Sean Matthews. Lumpy Carson , Earl Jaques, and John Bleeping Viola chair two committees apiece. Pathetic.

    • Joshua W says:

      It is strange to me that Matthews only got the vice-chair of one committee, and the Telecoms committee at that. As an actual education professional you’d think he’d be the chair, or at least vice-chair of the Education committee. I’m curious as to what’s going on there.

      • Either you’re a Pete lackey, or you’re not a Pete lackey. A couple more flips, though…

        • Joshua W says:

          Sure but even Kowalko, who I think we agree is the furthest thing from a lackey, has the chair of the Manufactured Housing committee. Same with Sean Lynn and the Judiciary committee. What did Matthews do, presuming this wasn’t his choice, that he didn’t even get to chair one committee?

          • Kowalko previously chaired the Sunset Committee. You can’t shut EVERYBODY out. Too many committees. And a lot of lifting on the manufactured housing committee has already been completed.

            As to Sean Lynn, I don’t know. He’s been making more noises about running for something else (remember, he considered an AG run) than challenging leadership. And the committee may be stacked against him a little, although time will tell.

  7. BTW, as of now, still no publicly-released Senate committee assignments.

  8. John Kowalko says:

    My first/top choice that I submitted to the speaker was to be restored as chair of the Energy Committee (a responsibility that I fulfilled for many years). In my request I noted that I am, without reservation, the most knowledgeable and engaged member of the entire General Assembly in energy matters, I am the only legislator who has intervened (successfully) in nearly a dozen rate cases before the Public Service Commission. I am the only legislator who was privileged to be invited by the government of Great Britain to spend two weeks (at the British Governments expense) in England visiting their various off-shore wind manufacturing facilities and sites (including numerous meetings) in Whitehall with various top British energy officials to get a grasp of their immensely successful wind energy program. Inexplicably Governor carney refused my offer to sit on his off-shore wind task force without any logical or legitimate reason. The refusal of leadership to consider the most engaged, experienced and knowledgeable for the chairmanship of the House Energy committee has forced me to consider that my efforts to reign in utility costs and my willingness to hold official hearings on expensive boondoggles such as Bloom would not sit well with powerful “special interests” such as Delmarva/Exelon (President Gary Stockbridge), Atlantic Electric (Pres. Stockbridge) or the Delaware State Chamber of Commerce (Chairman of the Board Gary Stockbridge) or any of the money grubbing Corporations/Organizations that can’t wait to suck out and burn the last drop of oil or natural gas from the Earth’s bowels. Can any physics scholar tell me what happens when you suck all the air out of a balloon? Hint opposite of explodes but with the same dire disastrous results. We can all sleep well knowing that there is no need to prepare for the future if there isn’t a future scheduled. Thank you Koch brothers from my children and grandchildren.
    Representative John Kowalko

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