Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A fresh, clean air is sweeping through Statehouse

Retiring state Rep. Frank Buck called it in my Saturday blog post about who would be the next speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives.

Buck said that Naifeh has always had six GOP members in his pocket to keep him in power in case some Democrats in his own party bolted because of his corrupted antics. But those GOP members sided with Naifeh only because they never believed the GOP would get a majority in the House.

On Nov. 4, they did, riding on Sen. John McCain's coattails.

Buck said last week that the GOP reps would then have to decide who to align themselves with. This morning's Tennessean reports that Rep. Jerry Mumpower has the 50 signatures of all GOP House members to make him Speaker on the second Tuesday in January.

Inside talk has it that U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and former U.S. Sen. Howard Baker put pressure on the six members to be true to their political party and voters wanting change.

Fresh air can be a very good thing in politics, be it in the White House or the Statehouse. Mumpower will have the power to clean up all the muck Naifeh left, the kind of the nastiness that bogged down the business of the people for his personal political gain and those of special interests.

In fact, Mumpower and Senate President Ron Ramsey could do the citizens of The Tennessee the greatest good by setting term limits on how long a speaker and president can serve, Buck says. Eight years would be great. Former Senate President John's Wilder's tenure over almost four decades was ridiculous.

Another good turn in the House could be the elevation of Democrat Gary Odom of Davidson County to the position of House Minority Leader. Odom was going to challenge Naifeh for Speaker. He, too, got tired of Naifeh's shenanigans.

So raise your glasses to the new House Speaker and his success, and hopefully a new House Minority Leader in Odom.

Now if we could only get Gov. Phil Bredesen to leave early with the state facing an $800 million deficit in the current fiscal year, then the atmosphere on Capitol Hill may clear enough for the people of Tennessee to see their government finally working for their interests first.

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