by Dan Gibson
As if this week hadn't been stressful enough, between Gov. Brewer discussing national politics more than what's actually happening in the state in her victory speech and (former?) pal of white supremacists Russell Pearce being elected the Senate Majority Leader, now there's this, from the Arizona Capitol Times:
The Senate minority caucus, which is poised to see numbers shrink to nine members next year, has elected Rep. David Schapira, a Tempe Democrat, as leader.
Sen. Leah Landrum Taylor of Phoenix was chosen as assistant minority leader.
Meanwhile, Sen. Paula Aboud of Tucson was elected whip.
The challenge for the minority is to avoid becoming irrelevant now that Republicans hold a supermajority control of the 30-person chamber.
Democrats were mostly relegated to the sidelines during the crafting of budgets in the last two years....
Schapira said their strategy would be to reach out to the opposite party.
The majority and minority obviously have differences, but they have the same interest, which is to move Arizona forward, he said.
“The key is communication,” said Schapira, adding he has a good relationship with colleagues from the opposite aisle.
Admittedly, I don't know Schapira personally and he ran against a good friend of mine in the most recent election, but is a guy who seemingly doesn't have a ton of political wins under his belt and took his largely Democratic district by less than two thousand votes the best option for Minority Leader? Understandably, there are only nine senators to choose from, but when Schapira opens up with "communication" as a battle plan, it's almost like you can hear Pearce cackling from Mesa from here. Consider the fact that the Democrats, when they had better numbers, were completely shut out of the budget process. What on earth would make Schapira think that his quality personal relationships with Senate Republicans will tip the scales now that his party has been made essentially irrelevant?
Here's what I wanted to hear: "We know that our numbers are way down. We know that as a party in this state, we've clearly done something wrong to lose the public's trust. We know that Majority Leader Pearce is going to shut us out of every part of the process he possibly can, but we're going to present an alternate plan at every step for their misguided ideas on how to run this state. We're committed to keeping you informed of every aspect of what happens here and what we would have done differently. That way, when things go where we think they will but hope they won't, we'll have regained your confidence and we'll be there to clean up this regrettable mess."
Maybe David Schapira is going to take the "leader" part of his new role seriously, but based on what he's saying and what I've seen from the Democrats in this state the last few days, the Republicans might as well get comfortable in their newly-won Arizona offices.