IBJNews

Indiana House speaker offers two Democrats committee chairs

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

New Republican Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma said Tuesday that he wants fellow lawmakers to put vicious election campaigns behind them and move to a new era of bipartisan civility — and said he was doing the same as he appointed two Democrats to head committees.

Bosma said it's the first time in state history that the majority leader has asked minority members to be committee chairs, a job that carries the power to determine which bills move forward. Republicans won control of the House in November's elections and now hold 60 out of 100 seats in the typically rancorous and divided chamber.

"I'm serious about bipartisanship," said Bosma, R-Indianapolis. "I intend to make it work."

Bosma named Rep. Steve Stemler, D-Jeffersonville, to lead the commerce, small business and economic development committee and Rep. Chet Dobis, D-Merrillville, to head a new committee focusing on reducing government regulations and laws. Republicans would be vice chairmen of the two committees.

Dobis lost his Democratic leadership position in the last session after clashing with then-House Speaker Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, but said he was still a Democrat and didn't see the appointment as recruiting. He said Bosma was simply reaching across the aisle with an olive branch.

"Everybody's called for bipartisanship over the years," Dobis said. "Nobody's really been sincere about it."

But Bauer, now the House Minority Leader after Democrats lost their slim majority, didn't immediately buy into the idea of everyone peacefully working together. He suspected Bosma wanted Democrats on the committees so he could spread the blame for any politically-charged bills that might become election liabilities.

"It's an olive branch with thorns," Bauer said.

The committee offerings also ruffled Bauer's feathers because he said as the Democratic leader, he should be the one to appoint members to the committee.

Bosma acknowledged that some lawmakers may still have hard feelings over election campaigns that involved attack ads and negative campaigning. But he said the House needed to rise above partisan bickering.

"I think we owe it to the public," he said.

Any lingering resentment over the elections didn't show on Tuesday as lawmakers gathered at the Statehouse for the largely ceremonial Organization Day. Legislators in the House and Senate shook hands and gave each other hugs. They took oaths of office as spouses, children and parents watched from balconies and snapped pictures.

Whether that jovial spirit will stick around once lawmakers start dealing with weighty issues is another matter. There's plenty on the agenda for the 2011 session, which begins Jan. 5. Republicans control the House, Senate and governor's office and their top priorities include creating a new two-year budget and fixing the state's broken unemployment insurance fund.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, applauded Bosma's decision to include Democrats as committee chairs but said all committees in the Senate — a chamber long controlled by the GOP — will be held by Republicans. He said he'll have to wait and see whether Bosma's experiment will mean real bipartisan cooperation.

"It makes a great statement," Long said. "That's a very positive start to the 2011 session."

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Bauer Has Got To Go!
    Pat Bauer (and Nancy Pelosi comes to mind) is the epitome of everything that is wrong with politics. Way to go Brian Bosma for reaching out. Hopefully the other Dems have the decency to see Bosma's offer for what it is, not a olive branch with thorns.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. How can any company that has the cash and other assets be allowed to simply foreclose and not pay the debt? Simon, pay the debt and sell the property yourself. Don't just stiff the bank with the loan and require them to find a buyer.

  2. If you only knew....

  3. The proposal is structured in such a way that a private company (who has competitors in the marketplace) has struck a deal to get "financing" through utility ratepayers via IPL. Competitors to BlueIndy are at disadvantage now. The story isn't "how green can we be" but how creative "financing" through captive ratepayers benefits a company whose proposal should sink or float in the competitive marketplace without customer funding. If it was a great idea there would be financing available. IBJ needs to be doing a story on the utility ratemaking piece of this (which is pretty complicated) but instead it suggests that folks are whining about paying for being green.

  4. The facts contained in your post make your position so much more credible than those based on sheer emotion. Thanks for enlightening us.

  5. Please consider a couple of economic realities: First, retail is more consolidated now than it was when malls like this were built. There used to be many department stores. Now, in essence, there is one--Macy's. Right off, you've eliminated the need for multiple anchor stores in malls. And in-line retailers have consolidated or folded or have stopped building new stores because so much of their business is now online. The Limited, for example, Next, malls are closing all over the country, even some of the former gems are now derelict.Times change. And finally, as the income level of any particular area declines, so do the retail offerings. Sad, but true.

ADVERTISEMENT