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Schwarzenegger fights Democrats over Maldonado confirmation

by Susannah Kopecky, published

The old animosity between the governor and state representatives was on full display again over the nomination and confirmation of Santa Maria Republican State Senate representative Abel Maldonado to the post of Lieutenant Governor. The aforementioned post is a plum job for whoever can get it, as the Lieutenant Governor is the number two in command in the state of California.  After the State Senate agreed to accept his nominee, the Assembly rejected Maldonado in what Schwarzenegger characterized as petty politics.

The Governor’s Office released three separate press releases on February 11, in early anticipation of a smooth confirmation of Maldonado. The governor’s hopes were short-lived, however, as he soon blamed the Assembly for pushing politics ahead of progress.  “The display of extreme partisanship among Democrats in the Assembly yesterday resulted in legislative stalemate that can only be resolved through protracted litigation,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement released on Friday, February 12. The governor threatened to put Maldonado to work if both the Assembly and Senate cannot confirm his appointment within the next three months. Providing logical counterpunches to the Assembly’s act of blocking the nomination, Schwarzenegger slammed the Assembly for blocking his idea of progress. “This kind of hyper-partisanship is exactly what the voters have rejected time and time again. It doesn’t produce new jobs; it doesn’t balance our budget; it doesn’t lower people’s taxes or provide health care to one sick child. It has to stop.”

What is it about a Republican governor’s nominations that irks the predominantly Democratic legislature so? Is it that the governor does not share a common ideology, or is it the common good which propels the legislature to deny the successful appointments of government employees, in the face of a looming and massive debt?

Abel Maldonado represents the 15th District, an area composed of such politically varied regions from Santa Maria (conservative) to Santa Cruz (liberal), and he continues to be re-elected. His election success (he has served in the State Senate for over 10 years) suggests that he must be doing something right in the eyes of conservative to liberal voters, so one must ask themselves: is the State Assembly simply looking for a fight with the governor (and if so, is it a losing one which will lead to the nomination of a more conservative nominee) or do the state legislators have a legitimate beef with Maldonado and his political progress?

Do you think it’s politics as usual in California, or is this simply a complex, intelligent and reasonable debate?

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