Don’t look now, but Assembly Republicans appear to have a leader who actually understands…get this…POLITICS!
No, no…it’s true.
Sure Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey might not be the kind of fire-breathing, scorched-earth, tea party conservative that many of us are. Then again, unlike other Republican leaders he’s never pretended to be.
Nevertheless, give Hickey credit. He’s actively working and communicating with outside third-party conservative organizations (unlike his Senate counterpart, Sen. Roberson, who only likes to play with himself) and has embraced a tactic I’ve long espoused…
If Democrats won’t hear our bills, hold our own hearings!
Indeed, tomorrow Hickey will moderate a town hall-style “hearing” from 4:00-6:00 pm in Room #1214 in the Legislature to discuss three conservative issues that haven’t received a proper hearing by the Democrat-controlled Assembly this session: PERS reform, prevailing wage reform and tax credits for private school vouchers.
This is the difference between having a “minority” party mentality and an “opposition” party mentality.
Which is not to say Assemblyman Hickey isn’t working cooperatively with Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick. He is. But working cooperatively when possible, and in your own party’s interest when necessary, aren’t mutually exclusive.
‘Tis a tightrope act, to be sure, but Hickey’s walking it FAR better than the totally ineffective Minority Leaders who came before him: Pete “Tax My Meat” Goicoechea, Heidi “I Wanna Be Lieutenant Governor” Gansert and Garn “Maybe” Mabey.
Of course, the session’s not over…and it’s likely the moderate Republicans in his caucus will wimp out again when the heat gets turned up. But Hickey thus far has proven himself an able leader who has shown conservatives a level of respect and inclusion we haven’t seen in years past.
What we need next year are more conservatives in the Assembly GOP caucus to replace Gumbies like Lynn Stewart and Tom Grady…and to actually pick up two or three additional seats from the D’s. Then we’ll start to see some real change!