Monday, January 26, 2009

State House News Article Featuring the Minority Leader

From State House News

House Minority Leader Bradley Jones said Monday that Speaker Salvatore DiMasi’s resignation highlights the pitfalls of one-party rule and that he intends to vote for himself as the next speaker, a largely symbolic move since Republicans only number 16 in the 160-member House. "I think it becomes a dynamic where tremendous power gets invested because of one party and I think that creates a sense of being impervious," he said. Jones said the speaker’s office is imbued with too much power and should be reformed to return power to individual members. “Put issues on the floor and let members decide and let the votes fall where they may. I think there becomes this need for the speaker to sort of decide the outcome and that everything else is handled that way so that there’s no surprises on the floor,” he said. “I would say empowering the membership to participate because I think it would allow the members to better understand issues, better understand the process, better understand the rules.” Jones said the speaker made the right decision to step down “for himself ... and for the institution” because the questions around his ethical and legal issues were increasingly a distraction. Jones also said he’d favor a delay in the vote for a new speaker if there was a “rational, logical argument” behind it, but he noted that the House had yet to assign committee leaders and agree on rules. Jones said he thinks a House led by either Rep. John Rogers or Rep. Robert DeLeo, the two candidates to replace DiMasi, would be “largely the same” and that he would still disagree on the direction they would go in. Jones, a casino supporter, added that he hoped a speaker friendlier to casinos would allow “open, honest and fair debate on the floor.”