News Chopp’s Shop? Sommers’s Reign?
posted by November 28 at 9:34 AMon
This was originally posted yesterday at 6:45 pm.
State House Speaker, Rep. Frank Chopp (D-43), is trying to dilute the power of his powerful Democratic colleague, longtime Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Helen Sommers (D-36). The two have sparred over transportation issues in the past and there’s probably some bad blood over Chopp’s indifference when Sommers faced an intraparty challenge from progressive candidate Alice Woldt (a friend of Chopp’s) in 2004.
As Dem working groups continued to meet and organize this week in the run-up to January when they will have a commanding 62-36 advantage in the state House, Chopp pushed the idea of creating three subcommittees for Appropriations that will make recommendations on business before Sommers’ committee. Sommers told me she’s okay with one of the committees (an education subcommittee) because that’s a sprawling issue.
However, Chopp also wants to create a General Government subcommittee and a Human Services Committee that observers say would put too many cooks in the kitchen—watering down Sommers’s famous hold on state spending.
The new subcommittees would also put Speaker Chopp—who’s in a position to orchestrate the appointments—in control of more goodies to dole out, thus making more members indebted to him.