Taylor: Bowen "negotiating" - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Taylor: Bowen "negotiating"

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November 8, 2002

Atlanta-- As Georgia Republicans may gain as many as four Senators, Lt. Mark Taylor Governor has been following these developments closely, and talking on the phone with Democratic senators.

"I spoke to Senator Bowen today, and Senator Bowen is not switching parties," Taylor said. "He is negotiating with Governor-elect Perdue, and he is certainly aware of how good the Democratic party has been to him and his family, and to his district. I don't think Senator Bowen will go back on his allegiance to the Democratic party which he signed just last May when he qualified. He's been elected as a Democrat in a Democratic district, after a vicious campaign."

Will the Senators who are talking about switching resign and run as Republicans? "I am calling on them to do so. There should be a special election so the people of that district can have a choice to judge them now as Republicans. They should also return thousand s and thousand of campaign dollars that they collected and spent in their re-election. I will introduce legislation next year to require people who switch parties to resign so that a special election can be held."

If the Republicans control to Senate, much of Taylor's power could be stripped. Might that happen? "Yes, you heard a lot about King Roy, and now take a look at King Sonny," Taylor said. "Rather than bringing a state together, as a governor-elect should do, he's dividing our state along party lines. He's falling in line with the Washington crowd who is obsessed with control of the Senate in Washington and Atlanta, based on party, and that's not what we need. It's not about Mark and Sonny, it's about a better Georgia, especially in education."

It's not about Mark and Sonny, but Mark and Sonny do have a history. When Perdue defected from the Democratic party, Taylor was not pleased. How does plan to work with the new governor? "The Democrats elected him majority leader, and President Pro-tem. Before the election in 1998, he switched parties, and used the money he raised as Democratic Pro-tem to try to defeat his Democratic colleagues. When I was elected, I felt the Democrats should have the committee assignments, and set the agenda. So there was a change in Senator Perdue's committee assignments, but the important thing is that Sonny and I will have to work together now. I honor the office of Governor, and hope that Sonny will honor the office of Lt. Governor."

The leadership shake-up at the capitol will continue next week. Both parties have caucuses scheduled during which they will make plans for committee appointments and leadership assignments.

posted at 6:45PM by dave.miller@walb.com