Friday, March 09, 2007

Pelath Says "No Thanks" To Bowser's Seat

Rep. Scott Pelath (D-Michigan City) today ended any speculation he might be interested in succeeding Sen. Anita Bowser (D-Michigan City) following her death this past weekend. Pelath said:

"Many have assumed that I would endeavor to move to the Senate," said Pelath. "However, I would have to surrender a key chairmanship, seniority, and my membership in the House majority. Right now, I am in a much better position to
help my constituents than I ever could in the Senate."

Democrats currently hold on to a slim 51-49 majority in the House, where Pelath chairs the influential Committee on Rules and Legislative Procedures. In contrast, Senate Democrats have been mired in the minority since 1978, and presently hold only 17 of the Senate's 50 seats.

"I expect there will be a number of credible candidates to follow in Anita's footsteps, and it will be no trouble picking a good Senator," said Pelath. "However, Anita's successor should prepare for a challenging life in the Senate minority. As the number of Senate Democrats has decreased in recent years, so have their opportunities to directly shape legislation."

Finally, Pelath also admitted he would find it hard to leave behind the boisterousness and lively, free flowing debate of the House. In comparison, Senate activity is known to be much more subdued, with senators communicating to each other in whispers and with visible reactions receiving frowns.

"At heart, I'll always be a man of the House," said Pelath.
While Pelath found time to issue a press release on this issue, he has not formally commented on criticism this blog directed at him earlier this week for co-sponsoring SJR-7, the constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriages and more. As AI reported earlier this week, Sen. Brandt Hershman (R-Wheatfield) quickly rushed to Pelath's defense, arguing it was his responsibility as the Senate author to name the House sponsors and Pelath should not be blamed for his sponsorship of the amendment. Some Democrats, too, have rushed to Pelath's defense. The fact remains he voted for SJR-7 in the last General Assembly, and we have no reason to believe he's changed his mind, particularly in light of his agreeing to put his name on the amendment.

If former Rep. Mary Kay Budak is to believed, she says someone other than Pelath was Bowser's personal choice to replace her based upon a conversation she had with Bowser the night before she passed away. Given his position on SJR-7, that should come as no surprise to the folks who knew her. The Indiana Legislative Insight reports:

One of Sen. Bowser’s two closest friends over the years in the General Assembly, former Rep. Mary Kay Budak (R), tells the La Porte Herald-Argus that she spoke with Sen. Bowser the night before her death about potential successors, and that Sen. Bowser wanted Lynne Kaser (D), a director on the state board of the League of Women Voters, and a local LWV official for two decades, to replace her. Kaser is currently seeking her first office, election to the Michigan City Council.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, that makes you want to run for the Senate, huh?