Over at the new Face the State is a story about the ascension of State Rep. Mike Merrifield back to the chair of the House Education Committee, after last year’s controversy and resignation:
Rep. Mike Merrifield, D-Manitou Springs, quietly resumed his post at the helm of the House Education Committee on Monday more than nine months after his resignation over a well-publicized email that condemned school choice supporters to a â€œspecial place in hell.â€
More from Face the State:
Political consultant Katy Atkinson, a consultant to moderate and conservative political causes, said top Democrats may have perceived that they had little reason to replace Merrifield with a legislator more open to supporting charters and other parent-friendly education options. â€œThe Democratic leadership is not that concerned in particular about their standing in the school choice community,â€ she said. â€œTheyâ€™re more concerned about all the money they get from the [Colorado Education Association].â€
Coloradoâ€™s Democrat candidates received nearly $280,000 in direct teachers union contributions in 2006, compared to just over $20,000 for Republicans. According to Colorado League of Charter Schools Executive Director Jim Griffin, Democrats did little to soften their reputation as the anti-school choice party after Merrifield stepped down from his post last Spring. Merrifield was replaced by another union-funded legislator, Rep. Judy Solano, D-Brighton, who temporarily assumed the chair. â€œI never viewed having one or the other in charge as a particularly big deal,â€ he said.
Well put. Party trumps person.