Earlier today news broke that State Sen. Tim Cullen has decided to leave the Democratic Caucus in the State Senate after Majority Leader Mark Miller offered him a “weak” committee chairmanship post. Sen. Cullen also indicated he is considering whether or not he’ll leave the Democratic Party completely and become an independent.
Lisa posted her take on the situation earlier this evening, but I wanted to add my own perspective, specifically regarding Sen. Cullen’s assertion he was offered a “weak” committee chairmanship. According to Senate Majority Leader Mark Miller, Sen. Cullen was offered the chairmanship of the Committee on Small Business Development and Tourism, and while Sen. Cullen may consider that a “weak” assignment, it’s important to note tourism is big business here in Wisconsin, with visitors spending somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 billion in Wisconsin in 2011.
That’s no small number, and given the failures of Gov. Scott Walker and Republicans in the legislature to follow through on their promises to create jobs here in Wisconsin, the chairmanship of a committee that deals with small businesses would seem to me to be in a good position to put forth some ideas on how to create jobs through small businesses. It’s no secret small businesses in large part drive the economy, so Sen. Cullen would have been in a good position to help create jobs where Republicans failed.
Even if Senate Majority Leader Miller did slight Sen. Cullen by not offering him a “stronger” committee chairmanship, it’s unfortunate that Sen. Cullen couldn’t put on his big-boy pants and put his ego aside to do the work he was elected to do.