The title of Speaker for the 37th Legislature is still up in the air, until Thursday at least. Vying for the position are Democrats Therese Terlaje and Joe San Agustin. On the other side of the aisle, Frank Blas Jr. with full support from all 6 Republican lawmakers.
An Inauguration Ceremony but with no Speaker chosen. Nominated for Speaker were senators Frank Blas Jr. garnering all 6 Republican lawmaker votes; former Speaker Therese Terlaje receiving 3 votes from herself, Sabina Perez, and Chris Malafunkshun Barnett; and Joe San Agustin who received 6 votes from the remaining incumbent and freshman Democrat senators.
Why Democrat lawmakers weren’t aligned with their vote for Speaker is still unclear, even for senators within the party.
“We have had several caucus. We’ve had several caucuses,” said Senator Will Parkinson.
“I will say I was confused and I thought there was a plan,” Parkinson added.
Newly inaugurated senator Will Parkinson shared with Newstalk K57’s Patti Arroyo that out of the 15 members in the 37th Legislature, 12 of them wanted new leadership.
Parkinson says he was under the notion that Republican lawmakers would vote for former Speaker Therese Terlaje — a speculation that debunked by Senator and Speaker nominee Frank Blas Jr.
“The group’s nomination of me for Speaker wasn’t just to throw things out of whack over there. It’s basically, ‘we’re ready to work,” said Blas on an interview on NewsTalk K57.
“As Republicans, we’re ready to go,” he added.
Blas Jr. says Republican lawmakers aren’t willing to give up their votes for either Terlaje nor San Agustin — not unless negotiations can be made to ensure inclusion and transparency with their Democrat colleagues.
Otherwise, Blas says, it’s all of them or nothing, “Had the Democrats just — you know — were able to hash it out amongst themselves or bring to the table what we consider so we can cast our votes as well.”
A recess was called and the body will reconvene on Thursday to elect a Speaker for the 37th.
In the meantime, Parkinson says the Democrat lawmakers will meet to align their decision.