Letter to the Editor: Kohl-Welles not 'stripped' of chair, necessarily

By Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles

To the editor:

While I very much appreciate your efforts to provide context for what’s happening in the state Senate (“Carlyle, Tarleton get on board with important committees; Kohl-Welles stripped of hers,” Dec. 14), and that the details in the article are accurate, I am concerned that the headline confuses the facts.

I have not been stripped of my committee chairmanship or other committee membership (which sounds punitive) —- at least for now. Democrats have proposed that I continue to chair the Senate Labor, Commerce & Consumer Protection Committee, while Republicans have proposed installing a different majority, the “Senate Majority Coalition Caucus,” even though 26 Democrats have been elected as the majority (out of a 49-member Senate). In this model, two conservative Democrats would organize with all 23 Republicans. All Democratic chairs of top-tier committees would be replaced with Republicans. We have made a counterproposal of installing co-chairs on all committees and co-leaders in the Senate. In any case, whatever plays out cannot take place until Jan. 14th, when the Senate convenes and is able to amend the Senate Joint Rules which would have to be achieved to change our committee structure and leadership positions. Until that occurs, whether I continue as chair, co-chair or ranking minority member is at best a matter of pure speculation.

In the meantime, I am hopeful but not optimistic that our counterproposal to structure all committees with co-chairs will succeed. It is the option that would genuinely establish the bipartisanship and collaboration that the Republicans claim they hope to achieve.

Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles
36th Legislative District

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