Thursday, January 19, 2012

House committee assignments expected tomorrow

All signs point to Speaker Philip Gunn (R-Clinton) announcing his committee chairmanship selections tomorrow morning around 9:00 a.m. In addition, Gunn will assign each of the 122 members to the various committees. These choices will be the most important of Gunn's career in the House thus far. With these appointments, Gunn will have an opportunity to live up to the cooperative tone he set in his acceptance speech. I believe he will do just that.

Here's why:

The most frequent complaint from Republicans over the last 4 years was that Speaker Billy McCoy (D-Rienzi) didn't appoint any Republicans as committee chairs. If Gunn follows McCoy's lead and doesn't appoint any members of the opposing party to committee chairmanships, then he'll appear hypocritical. An appearance of hypocrisy isn't something Gunn can afford right now, as Mississippians are dealing with the fallout from Barbour's Pardongate. (Barbour's pardon record doesn't exactly match the Republican "tough on crime" line.)

There's another dynamic at play here as well, and it has to do with institutional knowledge. Most of it resides over on the Democratic side of the aisle, and that will be important when it comes time to handle intricate health, education, and budget matters. Having Democrats with experience in those areas willing to play ball is going to be vital to doing the work of the House in a timely fashion.

All of the above, coupled with Lt. Gov. Reeves' decision to appoint Democrats to chair important committees, lead me to believe that we will see a fairly even distribution of power at the committee level. Guess we'll find out tomorrow.

1 comment:

billy b said...

Oh yippy-skippy, the hungry Dems in the House are anxiously sitting around the Capitol Building awaiting a few crumbs and scraps to fall into their laps from their new post-partisan, inclusive, everybody gets a seat-at-the-table Republican Speaker Mr. Gunn. I just bet they can use their assignments to pad their expense and pay reports some more to take home a little extra pay at the end of the month.

I was at a Tea party meeting this past Monday night, and they were hopping-mad at Speaker Gunn's new "glorified secretary" hire at an annual salary of $110,000 per year. One of the leaders there commented to me after the meeting, and I quote "you could have hired three school teachers for that". Sad state of affairs when the right-wing types have the correct spin for these things that the Dems in the State Legislature should be echoing!