House Democrats eye local positions after Republican take-over

The House stands to lose at least three of its Democrats to mayoral positions – a collective loss of 55 years of experience and a lot of institutional knowledge. After all, a successful mayoral bid means these legislators will hang up their hat at the state capitol and move on to city hall.

It’s not unusual for politicians to seek out the “next big thing.” For some of these legislators, perhaps running for mayor is that logical next step. Perhaps they simply saw a clear path to victory in these races. Or perhaps this renewed interest in municipal politics is an indication that Democrats don’t want to play second fiddle in the Republican majority House.

It’s not surprising legislators, particularly long-serving Democrats, are eyeing other positions. It makes sense, given the mantra “out with the old; in with the new” echoing through the Capitol hallways nowadays. For many old guard Democrats (and even some Republicans), the time has come to step aside as freshmen members – mostly younger with less experience – start anew at the Legislature.

But that’s not a bad thing. Generally speaking, younger generations are open to new ideas. Their inexperience can be an asset, as they’re not entrenched in the idea of doing things “the way they’ve always been done.” Even sensitive issues like race become less divisive as younger generations (both black and white) are further removed from the sins of our past.

In some respects, a new majority in the House is having a domino effect on state politics: The Republican take-over is causing some Democrats to think twice about their continued role in the state legislature. This disenchantment is paving the way for a new class of younger, less experienced legislators – which just might slowly lead to a new kind of thinking in Jackson.

Things aren’t looking so good for the coalition of the status quo.

Rebekah Staples
Laurel Chronicle
5/29/13