State senator Tim Cullen is angered after being snubbed for committee appointments by state senate majority leader Senator Mark Miller. Sen. Cullen has decided he is no longer a member of the Democratic Caucus and will “decide over the next few days or weeks whether to become an Independent.” He says he will not become a Republican.
We all knew that the November elections could endanger the Dems’ majority – gained with the election of John Lehman (and that majority is set to expand to 17-15 next month after Sen. Rich Zipperer joins Gov. Scott Walker’s staff). However I don’t think we anticipated an early break-off like this one.
The e-mail below originally appeared on WisPolitics.
Sent: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 2:08 PM
Subject: Response to Committee Assignments
Senate Democratic Colleagues,
I thought many of you would want to see the attached document, which lists Sen. Miller’s committee chairmanship assignments and other key appointments by senator.
Sen. Miller’s decisions are an insult to me and the people of the 15th Senate District. I came back to Madison to do what I could to help the Rock County area recover and make a difference on issues where I have some knowledge based on my background, which includes 20 years in the private health care industry, experience on the Janesville School Board, and service as the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health and Social Services.
Sen. Miller has made clear that he does not value or need my presence in Senate Committee leadership and, quite obviously, in the Senate Democratic Caucus.
He has made his decision, and now I will make mine. As of the sending of this email, I am no longer a member of the Senate Democratic Caucus. I will decide over the next few days or weeks whether to become an Independent. I will not become a Republican.
This entire episode makes clear to me that Sen. Miller has no time for my independent ideas and my support of bipartisan solutions to the state’s problems.
Sen. Miller made me a minimal, unacceptable offer on the phone. We then agreed, at his suggestion, to meet in person to try to resolve this matter. However, he then went ahead and announced his committee assignments before we met.
During a phone conversation following Sen. Miller’s announcement of committee appointments, I offered several alternative ideas that differed from my original committee requests, but he made it clear that he would not entertain any appointments on my behalf.
I look forward to working with each member of the state senate to address the issues facing Wisconsin.
It did not have to come to this, and for that I am sorry.