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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Let's hope Wilder is wrong

According to the City Paper, Lieutenant Governor John Wilder claims he will be re-elected speaker of the state Senate in January. I hope he is wrong.

Wilder (D-Mason) has served as speaker of the Senate and therefore lieutenant governor since 1971, surviving attempts by both Republicans and Democrats to oust him. The most recent effort came in 2005 when, with the Republicans holding a 17-16 majority, the GOP tried to oust him, but two Republican senators crossed party lines and voted for Wilder.

In January, another vote can be held to elect the Senate speaker, and again the Republicans hold a 17-16 majority. One Republican who voted for Wilder in 2005, Sen. Mike Williams (R-Maynardville), remains noncommittal on whom he will support in January – Wilder or the Republican nominee, Senate Majority Leader Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville).
Senator Williams has every right to vote for whichever candidate he thinks is in the state's best interests, and I sincerely hope that he will not vote for Wilder on those grounds. As I've previously mentioned, in my opinion it is time for someone else to hold this important position. This is not a partisan issue for me: It's more important to me that the speaker be someone other than Wilder than anything else. I very much agree with Liz Garrigan's recent column on this subject.

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