Saturday, August 18, 2007

Eve Franklin resigns

Rep. Eve Franklin did the honorable thing by resigning her state House seat before starting her new job in the state government. Franklin had been appointed to be the state mental health ombudsman.

Now if only the other Democratic legislators who have been appointed to unadvertised state jobs would do the same thing. Had Sam Kitzenberg, for instance, done so when he got his unadvertised state job, his district would have selected a new Republican to fill his Senate seat -- one who would have been unlikely to switch parties in order to hand control of the Senate to the Democrats.

The next legislature needs to enact legislation to deal with this situation, since such appointments show no signs of slowing down. If legislators want to accept such a state job, they should step down first. After being in the new job, if they want to run again for a legislative seat, they should then be free to do so.

What is important is that voters know that a given candidate is a state employee with a vested interest in their department's funding and who is perhaps beholden to the governor who appointed that candidate -- before they decide who to elect for that seat.


Anonymous said...

Kudos to Eve Franklin.

At least one Democrat knows what the right thing to do is.

I would hope that, if Republicans were in the same situation, they would do what Franklin is doing.

(I'm trying to remember. There must have been some GOP lawmakers appointed to state jobs. Did they step down from their legislative posts?)

Montana Headlines said...

One would indeed hope that Republicans would do the right thing in a similar situation.

The sad fact of the matter is that the more cocky a party is, the less likely they are to worry about appearances of impropriety.

Right now the Dems are riding high and think they will run the state for generations -- so why worry about such niceties of ethical appearance?

And the GOP has had, to say the least, its cocky moments here in Montana over the last couple of decades -- when we assumed that we would always be able to defeat the Dems handily because of being a "conservative state."

So, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that GOP legislators got jobs from Racicot or Martz and didn't step down from their legislative seats.

We will have to depend on our Democratic readers to come up with examples, though.

Nell said...

Wow. I'm actually surprised to see this. Eve really seemed to enjoy serving in the legislature. Or at least she enjoyed being the gov's shill on the Approps committee.....

Although the issue of her basically living in Helena for the last couple years could have been a problem, I think she would have had a fairly easy time getting elected to her fourth term. I guess we'll take it.

Montana Headlines said...

From what we understand, Franklin has personal reasons for wanting to continue to live full-time in Helena.

That probably played some role in the decision. But as you say -- we'll take it.

Since the Dems are more organized than the GOP, they almost certainly have a strong candidate lined up for her seat already.