Saturday, March 6, 2010

Hershman Skips Negotiations on Bill HE AUTHORED

Indiana State Senator Brandt Hershman wants to be the 4th District Congressional Representative SO MUCH that he is skipping out on his duties in the Indiana Senate.

Steve Buyer’s right hand man authored a bill which would delay an increase in the unemployment taxes that businesses pay, but he apparently skipped out on the negotiations to attend a partisan dinner in Boone County, according to the Indianapolis Star.

As writers Bill Ruthhart and Mary Beth Schneider reported on Friday,

Intense, behind-closed-doors negotiations and the prospect of ending the legislative session early crumbled late Thursday as lawmakers feuded over a key Senate negotiator's decision to leave the Statehouse to attend a political event.

As the Democrat-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate continued to work to hammer out a deal on legislation to delay a scheduled increase in unemployment insurance taxes businesses pay, the bill's author, Sen. Brandt Hershman, left to attend the Boone County Lincoln Day dinner.

House Speaker B. Patrick Bauer, D-South Bend, said Hershman's decision to leave was "very much a clear signal" that Republicans had no interest in finalizing a deal by the midnight Thursday deadline Bauer had set as an early finish for the session, which he said would have saved taxpayers $100,000.

"They went campaigning and didn't seem engaged," Bauer said of the Senate negotiators. "We need them to be engaged, we need them to fight for jobs, we need them to help with the unemployment."

As a result, Bauer adjourned the House for six days, scheduling a return for business Wednesday, four days before the March 14 deadline for the session set in state law.

In his defense, Hershman only claims he was taking his dinner break and it just so happened to coincide with when the negotiations were hitting the fever pitch. He told the Star that his absence should not have effected the negotiations saying that Bauer’s criticisms were little more than, “a little bit of late-session game-playing."

Whatever the case, it doesn’t LOOK good for Hershman, who was initially considered the frontrunner in the 4th District Congressional race for the GOP nomination. He isn't anymore as outgoing Secretary of State Todd Rokita has entered the race. Hershman now trails in the polls, however, if he wins, it could be argued that his behavior in the State Senate on Thursday is just taking after his friend Buyer in neglecting his duties as a legislator.

Buyer has voting rate of only about 94 percent during the 111th Congress. To put that in perspective, to make adequate yearly progress on No Child Left Behind, your school must hit the 95 percent daily attendance rate. Buyer’s missed vote rate for the 111th Congress is the worst in the Indiana delegation. The average percentage of missed votes for the normal Republican was 3.8 percent and 3.9 percent for Democrats.

By contrast, 7th District Congressman André Carson had the best voting record of any Indiana Congressman and missed just 0.3 percent of his votes or two votes out of 1,072 possible votes cast. Joe Donnelly is next with a miss rate of 0.4 percent and Dan Burton only missed 0.5 percent. Both Indiana Senators are also under one percent of votes missed.

One has to wonder, is this the way Hershman would conduct himself if elected to the U.S. House? Would he high-tail it out of town when the going gets tough? The 4th District deserves better from its Congressperson. Maybe this is a bit unfair, but it just seems pretty dumb to me to do what Hershman did when up to 13 others are seeking the same seat from the GOP alone. I hope the dinner was good at least.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gary Post Trib

Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, said he and Hershman negotiated with House leaders for hours before Rep. Russell Stilwell, D-Boonville, asked for time to review a Senate proposal.

Kenley said he insisted Hershman go on to the dinner even though Hershman was reluctant to leave. Long said Bauer owes Hershman an apology.

"He trashed a good person's name," Long said.

Bauer complimented Hershman for being a "key" member of the Senate's negotiating team and he pointed out the other senators wanted Hershman to leave.

"I think he's a good guy, by the way," Bauer said of Hershman.