Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Senator plugged his ears

Evidently freshman Sen. Dan Liljenquist was not listening to Gov. Huntsman’s State of the State address on Tuesday evening when he said, “Every person in this chamber is motivated by our state’s success. Our discussion should be conducted with civility, respect and a recognition of the challenging circumstances in which we find ourselves.”

Today’s scenario:
  • 15% reduction for the 2010 Dept. of Human Services budget
  • 4 hour meeting
  • no dinner
  • freezing committee room
Granted, these conditions could make anyone testy and, possibly, downright mean. However, elected officials have a responsibility to conduct themselves with civility and respect.

Especially two days after the Governor from your own party reminds you to play nice.

And especially if you’re a freshman Senator who is traditionally expected to be seen and not heard during the first year of your term.

Sen. Liljenquist repeatedly pounded DHS director, Lisa-Michele Church, today about budget cuts, until finally the gentlemanly Sen. Allen Christensen said he was embarrassed and disgusted at the accusatory tone from the committee and the bashing of "the best department head we have in this state". He moved to adjourn in order to cut short the bloodshed, only to have the motion defeated. He walked out of the committee. Did this pointed behavior from a senior Senator discourage Senator Dan? No way. He continued to hammer Ms. Church until House Minority Leader David Litvack pointedly said after an exchange with the Senator, “The most important lesson my father ever taught me was this: It's not what you say, it's how you say it."

Sen. Liljenquist finally realized that he was out of order and apologized to Ms. Church but she had stepped out of the committee room to compose herself. He promised to apologize to her personally.

Thanks for the apology, Senator, but it was too little, too late.


Natalie said...

Yikes! He is my senator! I had better watch him more closely.

I tend to not like bullies. Even when I'm the one doing the bullying, I feel guilty afterward!

Shad said...

It is important to say things with civility.I'd like to see the recorded session if available. At the same time however - I don't agree that Freshman Senators are to be quiet their first year and watch. That's what the seasoned professional politicians want. They want you to play the "game" and earn your rights. Well that's not how it works. We are Americans and if we believe in something we go after it - even if passionately. I'm not condoning how he said anything - I wasn't there - but glad that he went after cutting budgets because that's what our country needs. We need people who are not afraid of losing their job in the senate over offending someone for saying what they believe - in this case cutting budgets. Go Dan.