DuBose Porter, Georgia House Minority Leader and candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor, has responded to my post from earlier today, explaining the decision not to run someone against Glenn Richardson for Speaker.
As the Minority Leader, it was my role to second the acclamation, as we, the Democratic Caucus, had voted to do so. Previously, and at every other opportunity, we had put up a protest candidate, which had resulted in nothing. We felt it would show Georgia that we were the party ready to do the real work for the people during the financial crisis. And, with Glenn in that position, we felt there was a better chance the corruption would come to light sooner rather than later, as it has. This was a direct benefit to Georgia’s citizens.
I can see how, without knowledge of the caucus meeting prior to the acclamation, one would not have known that this decision was enacted by me at the request of the Democratic Caucus. Without that knowledge I agree it would have seemed in contrast to my very long fight against corruption and the Hawk system. I hope this resolves your questions. If you looked further down the transcript from that day you will see where I voted against the rules and voiced, once again, opposition to the Hawks.
To further make sure the public realized we in no way approved of the Speaker or the Speaker Pro-Tem, we, the Democratic House Caucus, issued this press release the same day as the above acclamation. Please be sure and read the section in bold print:
The first regular session of the 150th General Assembly began with the usual pomp and circumstance today at 10:00 am. First up was the swearing in of all 180 members of the Georgia House of Representatives. With hands on their bibles, members were administered the oath of office by Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court Leah Ward Sears. Next, the house elected by acclimation Glenn Richardson (R-Hiram) for Speaker of the House and Mark Burkhalter (R-Alpharetta) for Speaker Pro Tem. These are the one and two positions in the House and this year the Democrats broke with traditional legislative procedure by not nominating a candidate. By no means was this an endorsement of Mr. Richardson and Mr. Burkhalter by the Democrats but rather recognition of the seriousness of this year’s session. With a faltering economy, more Georgia businesses closing their doors, record job loss, and a $2 billion shortfall in the state budget, the hope is that we can move quickly and address the serious problems the state faces.
The House then voted to approve the house rules but it was not without controversy. In 2005 the majority party instituted the “Hawks” system and it remains in place. These are designated members by the Speaker of the House that can vote on any committee at any time at the discretion of the Speaker, even without having served on the committee or any prior knowledge of the subject matter before the committee. Many believe this represents a dictatorship and goes against everything that a democracy represents. Members will also have to take their cell phone conversations out of the house chamber after today. However texting will still be allowed.
Rounding out the morning was the election of Phil Tucker as House Door Keeper and Roger Hines as House Messenger. Governor Perdue will be giving his State of the State and Budget address on Wednesday before a joint House and Senate session of the General Assembly. The legislature will be in recess the week of January 19th, which is the Martin Luther King Holiday, and begin budget hearings on Wednesday, January 21st.