Smith for Speaker

McCoy has predicted his challenger would be a Barbour flunky who would surrender the Democrat-majority House to Republicans, but that’s not Smith’s inclination. He’s an even-keeled, moderate leader who works well with politicians of all stripes. Unlike McCoy, he’ll be balanced in appointing Democrats and Republicans to the committee chairs that control the flow of bills in the House. That would bring a needed equilibrium to the House.

Smith is also expected to foster more democracy in the House by not letting chairmen single-handedly kill bills that the majority wants to take up. McCoy has been a bit too tight-fisted in that area.

The speaker is the third leg of state government’s power trio that also has the lieutenant governor as Senate president and governor as chief executive. It goes without saying that having someone from Columbus among them would be a plus for the Golden Triangle. As a senior member of the area’s legislative delegation, Smith has been a key player in recent years helping push legislation to lure industries like SeverCorr and Paccar to Lowndes County.

Smith, 58, and McCoy, 65, were once close allies. McCoy appointed Smith as a House committee chairman four years ago. Their relationship became strained when Smith began campaigning to oust his mentor a year or so ago. Let’s hope Smith as speaker would reforge his alliance with McCoy and make use of the veteran leader’s skills and counsel to make the state a better place.

Columbus Commercial Dispatch