Republicans seek to grab Ritz’s power

February 20th, 2013 at 5:28 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

There’s a power struggle underway at the Statehouse and State School Superintendent Glenda Ritz is in the middle of it. Ritz is the only Democrat to hold statewide office and the GOP super majorities in the General Assembly have the ability to take away at least some of her power and that’s just what some Republicans are trying to do.

Ritz says she is working to build relationships with Republicans, including Governor Mike Pence whom she met with last month, but the House education committee has voted to take away her management of the school voucher system. It also voted to eliminate the payroll deduction of union dues from members of the teacher’s union that helped elect her.

Ritz says the election was over in November. “Political games, you know, that might be done just to simply take away power. It’s really not what I’m interested in,” she said.

Ritz says she deserves the same influence that her predecessors had. The state Senate education committee, meantime, may come to her aid. It’s chairman, Dennis Kruse, is on record saying that she should keep the power traditionally held in that office.

Ritz, of course defeated Republican incumbent Tony Bennett in an upset. She opposed the use of vouchers in the campaign but has promised to manage the system fairly now that she’s in office. Governor Pence, meantime, is supporting the bill that Democrats call a power grab.

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