Democrats and Republicans Agree on Power-Sharing
November 30, 2011
Jeff Schapiro in the Richmond Times Dispatch reports that both former Republican Congressman Virgil Goode and former Republican State Senator John Chichester are joining with Democrats and urging power-sharing in the Virginia State Senate. He writes, "Virgil Goode Jr., the guy who forced an evenly split Virginia Senate into power-sharing in 1996, argues that it should do the same in 2012 -- that giving both parties a say makes for 'greater harmony and a better attitude.'... John Chichester, a Republican for whom power-sharing was a steppingstone to the Finance Committee chairmanship, the most influential position in the Senate, all but says his party is guilty of a flip-flop by now claiming the lieutenant governor's tie-breaking vote gives the GOP a lock on power."
Progressive Point: Republicans and Democrats agree that power-sharing in State Senate is in the best interest of the Commonwealth and Virginia families. The only opposition to this balanced approach and bipartisan solution is from out-of-touch conservatives who won't even listen to reason from their own party. Imposition of an unelected Republican majority in the State Senate ignores the voice and vote of Virginians in a bald power grab to institute one party rule. This overreach is not in the best interest of Virginians, who voted for legislators who can work together, not for partisan politics.
Get the Facts:
In the mid-90s, when the shoe was on the other foot, Virginia Republicans argued for the exact opposite for what they are saying today. Here are a couple of their quotes:
- "There are 20 of them -- there are 20 of us... We are going to be equal partners." Sen. John Chichester, The Richmond Times Dispatch, November 30, 2011
- "We've got parity we're entitled to 50 percent of the committee chairmanships and 75 of the 150 committee assignments." Sen. Joe Benedetti (R-Richmond), The Washington Times, December 13, 1995
- "[the power-sharing pact] is consistent with what [voters] decided on during the election which was a 20-20 split" Gov. George Allen, The Washington Times, January 13, 1996
- "I thought in 1996 that the power-sharing arrangement, which was good for four years, made for greater harmony in doing the business of the Senate... I think such would be true today if a sharing agreement could be worked out." Rep. Virgil Goode, The Richmond Times Dispatch, November 30, 2011