What a week it has been for sticky hinges at the Wisconsin State Capitol. If one creaks loud enough there is no shortage of oil that is ready to be spent to shut it up, and lower the rancor. (Apparently Republican Minority Leader Fitzgerald did not have time to have ‘the conversation’ with Cullen in time to stop developments from taking place.)
Today came news that most were suspecting following the dust-up between Majority Leader Mark Miller, and long-time politico State Senator Tim Cullen.
Sen. Tim Cullen will lead two new state Senate committees as part of an agreement he reached Friday with Senate Majority Leader Mark Miller.
Miller announced at a Capitol press conference that Cullen will be chairman of a committee on small business and venture capital and a special committee on mining.
Cullen also will replace the current vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Revenue, Tax Fairness and Insurance, and Cullen will join the Transportation Projects Commission.
The agreement includes Cullen’s return to the Senate Democratic Caucus.
There was clearly pressure on Miller to strike a deal, and get the miffed senator from Janesville back on the ship. I continue to be troubled with how Cullen, a man I respect and think politically mature, handled this matter. It was far from his finest moment on the public stage. Even after getting some serious committees Cullen looks smaller and mean. That is a sad ending to this story.
I also was a bit surprised that Miller was not able to sense any of Cullen’s anger prior to the embarrassing news this week, and therefore recommend Robert Caro’s work on Lyndon Johnson as a lesson in how he can better handle difficult caucus members.
Finally this blog has been a strong proponent of a venture capital bill, along with a mining bill. With the correct approach taken for each measure there is no reason not to have successful conclusions for each of these issues. I think Cullen may very well be the perfect person to work at bridging the divide and getting these important items passed.
If that is the ultimate outcome then this past week, while still a sour tasting one, will have had some positive result.