Capitol Update – January 12th, 2007

Folks at the Capitol are still buzzing over Monday’s opening day theatrics by House Democrats. The re-election of Jim Weiers (R-10) as Speaker was a foregone conclusion, but that didn’t stop Ann Kirkpatrick (D-02) from standing up and admonishing the entire House for a history of discrimination against the minority. Her opinion was that the only way to stop this was to start practicing “bipartisanship” and that meant that the Republican majority should vote for a Democrat Speaker of the House, specifically the Democrat leader Phil Lopes (D-27), whom she nominated for Speaker. When she finished reading from her typewritten script, Lopes rose and gave another long-winded speech before thanking Representative Kirkpatrick for her stirring words and then asking her to withdraw his name from nomination as a gesture of goodwill and bipartisanship. At this time, Kirkpatrick turned to the next page of her script and dutifully did so.

Of course, the awkward staging of this entire production featured two players, each of whom came out the loser. Lopes fooled no one by acting surprised and honored at the nomination while Kirkpatrick embarrassed herself by serving as judge and jury over a Legislature that has carried on for what, a century? And what allows Kirkpatrick to issue such judgements? Well it must be her two whole years of experience… Can you imagine what Rep. Jack Brown (D-05) must have though as he sat in the Speaker’s chair, presiding over Kirkpatrick’s admonitions? Brown was first elected to the Legislature in 1963, yet his fellow Democrat was telling him that no Arizona Legislature had ever been fair, open or bipartisan in its history. Folks found it hard to believe that he would agree with Kirkpatrick’s assault on the integrity of the House while a few wondered with amusement if he felt ashamed at his role in all of those failed Legislatures?

When all was said and done, the Democrats lost the vote, Rep. Jim Weiers was elected Speaker of the House, the gallery was buzzing about what had happened, and the Democrats had just buried any chance of bipartisanship, ostensibly in the name of bipartisanship… And so goes life at 1700 West Washington!


  1. Why the fuss? The Republicans in Congress did the same thing by nominating John Boehner for Speaker.

    Any chance of bipartisanship in the lege was buried when Weiers won re-election in November, not on Monday.

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