Run Down for Runoff

That’s why we have the committee system.”

Let’s nominate this as the quote of the spring 2010 primary campaign season.

Dave Bisbee is executive of Benton County, Ark. He’s seeking re-election. The field of candidates was narrowed in May, and the runoff for county judge is Tuesday the 8th. It’s a Republican primary, no Democrats are running so this decides the position. At the end of his campaign the judge has been in a circuit courtroom, not a quorum one, facing misdemeanor ethics charges. Last Friday he was acquitted of two counts and the jury was hung on the third. The conflict-of-interest issue was a construction company he owned doing work for the county last year.

Prosecutor Van Stone says he may seek retrial on that last count. Polls usually aren’t conducted at this level so how Bisbee will fare Tuesday against opponent Bob Clinard is unknown. I can’t figure Bisbee out and don’t live in his county. All I know has come from articles about this trial.

People seem to like Bisbee; he was a state representative for six years then senator for 10. How he performs as CEO of a county is different than what is needed in the legislative branch. What Bisbee said about how he performed in those 16 years floors me.

Stone in questioning Bisbee on the stand pointed out that in 2005 he voted to amend one of the statutes he was accused of violating. The Northwest Arkansas Newspapers article stated, “Bisbee testified he did not remember the law and likely did not ever read it when he was a member of the Legislature.”

The article was not clear on which statute or detail the amendment. The dialogue though remains illuminating.

“Stone asked Bisbee if there was a good chance Bisbee voted on a lot of laws he did not read.

“‘Absolutely,’ Bisbee said. ‘That’s why we have the committee system.’”

I hire legislators to read proposals, from the Arkansas General Assembly, among the folks remaining after Bisbee left, and Lt. Gov. Bill Halter who serves as president of the state Senate. My congressman, John Boozman, must understand bills he co-sponsors and others he reads to vote on. I expect my senator, Blanche Lincoln, to have figured out every nuance of health care, for instance. Come to think of it, even if you oppose Lincoln’s re-election, who doubts she is on top of legislation?

Others have “the committee system,” be that other solons or staff. Doesn’t that just rock?

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One thought on “Run Down for Runoff

  1. From Lana Flowers, via Facebook:

    I hope he is inspired to learn to read better, and to inspire others to do the same. I do not see how one can make and enforce laws and ordinances, and deal with contracts, when on the cusp of illiteracy.

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