Posted: July 7, 2010
THE ABCs OF LEGISLATIVE HALL
By Celia Cohen
A is for Amen. It ends the prayer that opens the legislative day and marks the transition to legislative business. From "Let us pray" to "Let us prey"
B is for Below-the-canal. Never mind the divisions between Democrats and Republicans, the Senate and the House of Representatives, the executive and the legislative branches, the eternal divide in Delaware is upstate and downstate
C is for Nancy Cook and her son Tom Cook. She is the Senate co-chair of the Joint Finance Committee, and he is the secretary of finance. It gives a whole new meaning to "cook the books"
D is for Democrats. The governor is a Democrat, the lieutenant governor is a Democrat, and so is the control of the Senate and the House. They're everywhere, they're everywhere
E is for Elections. Look at what you've created, voters. Try harder
F is for the First State. We'll always have 1787
G is for Gambling. This session brought table games and some football action but no bill allowing new casinos. Bet it will be back next time
H is for Hand out. What every legislator has
I is for Incumbent. The prerequisite for the hand out
J is for Judges. Delaware is the only state requiring political balance on the judiciary. Otherwise, after 17 years of Democratic governors and 37 years of a Senate Democratic majority, the Republican lawyer would be extinct
K is for Kent County. New Castle County has the corporate capital, Sussex County has the vacation capital, and Kent County wound up with the state capital. It seemed like a good idea in 1777, didn't it?
L is for Lobbyists. They are the reason legislators believe in reincarnation. They have faith they can come back as lobbyists
M is for Jack Markell. It is grand being the governor, except for the 21 senators and 41 representatives who constitute 62 albatrosses, but who's counting?
N is for Nepotism. Legislators can be quite devout about relations with their hire power
O is for Bill Oberle, the Republican state representative who is retiring. A lot less is going to get done without him
P is for President pro tem. What wisdom it is that the constitution puts the lieutenant governor, the secretary of state and the attorney general in the line of succession for governor before the Senate president pro tem, without even knowing that someday the pro tem would be Tony DeLuca
Q is for Queen. That would be Nancy Cook, a Democratic senator from Kent County since 1974. Nothing happens in Legislative Hall without her. She probably could take it with her when she goes
R is for Republican, the incredibly shrinking party. Only three representative districts have more Republican voters than Democrats, and only one senatorial district, and it has a Democratic senator. Maybe "R" does not stand for Republican, but Republi-can't.
S is for Speaker. As a legislator since 1972 and the Democratic minority leader since 1995, Bob Gilligan's strategy to get to be speaker finally paid off. He out-waited everybody
T is for sales Tax. This is Delaware. Not on your life
U is for Upstairs. This is where the governor's office is, on the second floor above the legislative chambers. When people say they are "going upstairs," they are going to see the governor
V is for Votes. There really is only one law in Legislative Hall -- who has the votes?
W is for Wired. This is what a bill is when it has the votes
X is for X-treme legislating, or what happens after midnight on June 30
Y is for Yuengling. There's a reason so many legislative offices have refrigerators
Z is for Zoo. Who says Dover doesn't have one?