As both a colleague of Larry O’Neal’s who supports his campaign for Speaker of the Georgia State House of Representatives, and a frequent reader of Erick and PeachPundit, I wanted to take a moment to provide an accurate portrait of who Larry O’Neal is and what he will do to change the culture of the House as our next Speaker.
The truth is, Larry is the first candidate for Speaker to issue a specific plan that calls for sweeping changes in the culture and procedures of the House. It includes the following:
- Abolishing the hawk system.
- Eliminating the speaker’s PAC (MMV).
- Larry will have no legislative agenda (like Richardson did) unless approved by the caucus and will sign no bills except the budget.
- Larry will demand that legislative leadership also refrain from using their position to push specific bills.
- A strong ethics package, drafted by the rank and file and not dictated by him.
- A review of all existing committee leadership to make sure no conflicts of interest exist.
Larry is a deeply talented leader and an absolute gentleman, and he is dedicated to his wife of many years. He has demonstrated impeccable character in his own life and will be an exemplary face for the House. During my three years of serving on the Ways and Means Committee, my admiration for him has only grown and gotten stronger. Having traveled with him, my respect for his personal integrity has been further confirmed. His wisdom, toughness, and fairness are what we need in the House, right now.
To underscore this, even the liberal Macon Telegraph said the following about Larry on Friday:
“O’Neal is so different from Richardson he could be called the anti-Richardson. He’s chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and would bring his expertise of the tax code to bear on the current economic crisis. He’s also clean as the proverbial whistle, something his party needs right now. He is also someone the party can rally around. Always the gentleman, O’Neal is well respected and utterly capable.”
All the candidates for speaker are fine men whom I greatly respect. However, Larry is simply first amongst equals, and a leader we can be darn proud of in the House.
Just as importantly, Larry’s campaign platform is made up of detailed commitments of how he will change the culture in the House. His demonstrated character in his personal, professional, and political life shows he can be trusted to do what he says.
That is why he is exactly the right combination of competence, calm, and commitment to change that we need to lead this team into 2010 and beyond.