Who Is Ready To Do Business?Kent Williams has said that the Tennessee Senate is in disarray and that all is fine in the House of Representatives. Initially, Williams was telling the press and the public that the House is in fine shape and that not many needed to move offices, and that when the General Assembly reconvenes on Monday, the House would be ready to roll up its collective sleeves and get to work.
The evidence would strongly seem to suggest otherwise...
To his credit, Williams has indeed appointed several Republicans as committee chairmen, and placed several others, including those most ardently opposed to him, in leadership positions on certain committees and subcommittees (albeit some of these more minor appointments were likely done at the insistence of Republican Leader Jason Mumpower). With new leadership roles come new responsibilities and a much greater workload, and-perish the thought-some of these new Chairmen began to exercise their right to ask for offices and staff commiserate with the responsibilities being assigned to them.
Now, the not ready for prime time Speaker discovers that the Democrats who installed him do not want any House Republicans in the Plaza, but want our boys and gals to continue in exile in the War Memorial, even though Republican numbers in both Houses of the General Assembly now outnumber Democrats and the Democratic Caucus is a shrinking-and noticably weaker-beast.
Per Stacey Campfield:
Kent, being unprepared to lead, has finally realized some Republicans have
replaced Democrats (I know, it is a shock). He waited until the last minute to
think about office assignments and is just now realizing the Dems don't want to
share offices with Republicans and they don't want any Republicans in the
Where to put all the new Republicans? Just cram more Republicans into fewer, smaller offices and start shifting who goes where. Instead of a smooth timely transition over a few weeks like the senate had, many House Republican offices are now in a mad last minute scramble to move.
Temporary walls and cubicle spaces are being thrown up, staff is running around
trying to box up everything, move it to different offices, unpack it and be ready before session starts. Of course the now smaller Democrat Caucus has more office space, more staff, less responsibility and better pay then ever before and the now larger Republican Caucus has less.
This is why the Democrats wanted to install Kent Williams as Speaker. They knew that he was unprepared to lead and that his early moves would leave the day-to-day running of the House in a general state of chaos. A kind of ordered chaos is, as Jimmy Naifeh once admitted, what kept Democrats in control for so long. Naifeh used his power as Speaker to insure that Republican staff was overworked, underpaid, and underappreciated. Now the Democrats want to maintain that status quo, but there is one big difference; there are entirely too many Republicans to keep objections to this oppressive system from being heard.
And the Senate? They've been moving offices the last three weeks because the new Chairs have new leadership roles-precisely what the House Republicans should have been allowed to do. The Senate will be the body ready to get down to business on Monday.