I sent an email to each of the 27 Republican Assemblymen – asking each for their perspective on what is being posted in the media in regards to the current discord in the Republican Assembly Caucus. Details of each of the individual conversations are considered personal and will remain private.
Respondents were pretty evenly divided between the two ‘camps’ of moderates and conservatives. They are as tired as the public is of this much too public turmoil.
I’m disappointed in those who did not respond, particularly Ms. Fiore and Mr. Anderson — prominent players within the opposing factions. Other prominent players from both sides communicated with me, some at great length and detail.
It disappoints me to be told certain individuals (on both sides) simply will not make a concerted effort to return calls or visit with those Caucus members they disagree with. Attempts have been made in good faith, only to be rejected or ignored.
This may upset some and give cause to question my neutrality, but — I believe the signing of/not signing of the taxpayer pledge should have no bearing on the determination of the Assembly Speaker, Caucus leadership or committee chairs and assignments. The time for the inevitable bitter debates in regards to taxes and the budget will come soon enough. If the voters feel betrayed by subsequent actions, they will let the offenders know at the ballot box.
As I write this, there are daily changes — public name calling and charges amongst and between particular members of the Caucus, all well publicized by conservative and liberal bloggers/columnists. So, let me be clear:
• I have no respect for those who betray a personal trust by divulging personal communications to outside sources for publication — particularly when it’s done for the sole purpose of embarrassing those they disagree with within their own party.
• I have no respect for elected Republican officials who publically verbally degrade, smear fellow Republicans simply because they feel betrayed.
• I would have no respect for any elected official who would conspire with Democrats to influence the Caucus leadership.
There have been mistakes and just plain dumb actions by members on both sides of this debacle. It’s time for all to understand and accept the fact no individual is perfect; back-stabbing (regrettably) is a common political sport (so is payback); and — to disagree with and dislike a fellow Republican is not a criminal act.
A few suggestions:
• If the process of electing the Assembly Speaker designate and Caucus Leader continues to cause divisive strife (All three elections to this point seem to have some viable challenges/questions as to process) — hold a caucus meeting as soon as possible, with required attendance of all members. Hold an open, hand count vote. No proxys allowed. Make it open to the public. End of debate.
• The Speaker Designate must make it clear within the Caucus any member who publicly defames the Caucus, a fellow Republican, or conspires against the leadership designees, will have no leadership position.
• The Speaker Designate and Majority Leader must make it clear any member who betrays a confidential communication amongst caucus members will hold no leadership position.
• Even if it means changing some current committee chairs, the Speaker Designee should make sure all committee chairs and co-chairs are a mix of representation of both ‘camps’ and a mix of experience and new members
The Speaker Designee must be willing and pro-active in communicating with each individual Caucus member. It’s important (If not already done) the Republican Assemblymen determine:
• The legislative issues the caucus does agree upon and will not compromise on;
• The legislative issues open for debate and potential compromises;
• The individual legislative issues that divide the Caucus and determine what, if any, the lines of compromise are within the Caucus.
Not one legislative vote has yet been made. The only Caucus decisions made to this point deal only with leadership and committee assignments. All the finger pointing, character assassinations, charges of betrayal in regards to legislative promises are a bit early – and smack of personal vendettas.
You are just one member of a diverse group of elected peers. Agree to disagree. Put your energies to use doing what is best for Nevada in regards to the Republican Legislative agenda.
Nancy Dallas is Editor/Publisher NewsDesk, www.ndbynd.com.