People and Politics: October/November 2011
CARL LEWIS WON NINE OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALS for his legendary running prowess. Although he gave up running years ago, he had to give up another race in September when a three-judge federal appeals panel ruled him ineligible to run for the New Jersey Senate. They said he couldn’t have lived in New Jersey for the required four years since he voted in California in 2008 and 2009. The ballots will be printed without Lewis’ name, and Democrats are not sure whether they will replace him. Lewis may write a book about the experience, and promised to remain active in New Jersey politics. Alas, readers will be spared no end of sports analogies in coverage of the race. And, at this point at least, incumbent Senator Dawn Marie Addiego, who was appointed to the seat initially to fill a vacancy, looks like a shoo-in.
TWO VETERAN NORTH CAROLINA LAWMAKERS are resigning their seats to become lobbyists. Representative Jeff Barnhart, in his 11th year in the House, was one of the key lawmakers writing the budget this year. Senator Debbie Clary served seven terms in the House before moving to the Senate. Successors to the two Republicans will be chosen by their county GOP executive committees. In North Carolina there is a six-month “cooling off” period before a lawmaker can register as a lobbyist. Both must wait until the next session after they have served to begin lobbying. North Carolina is losing a third Republican to retirement. Representative Johnathan Rhyne also announced he is leaving after three years in the House. He previously served in the House from 1985-1993.
NEVADA’S VETERAN DIRECTOR OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL BUREAU is leaving the agency in which he has served since 1981. Lorne Malkiewich gave notice that he intends to retire before the legislative session in 2013. Malkiewich, who has directed the agency for the past 18 years, said he wanted to inform legislators early that they need to find someone to fill his shoes. “I have loved working with the fantastic people here and after 18 years it’s time for a change,” he said. Malkiewich has his feelers out for a job that “can perhaps make use of some of my knowledge and skills and yet can be a new challenge for me.” Senator Steven Horsford, chair of the Legislative Commission, thanked Malkiewich “on behalf of the entire Legislature for his phenomenal work.” The commission is responsible for finding his replacement.
IN THE 1930S, SALLY GORDON WATCHED THE STATE CAPITOL IN LINCOLN BEING BUILT. In 1984, she made history by becoming the Nebraska Senate’s first woman sergeant-at-arms. She was 75. And this year, after a career spanning 84 years—27 of them as sergeant—Sally Gordon retired. She is 102. Honored as America’s “Outstanding Oldest Worker” by Experience Works, and featured in People magazine, Gordon is “a little too young to retire,” according to Governor Dave Heineman, who said she is the example of how much people can contribute even after the usual retirement years. “Some things come up,” Gordon said. “I just decided it was time to do it.” Commenting on her long career, which included working for three governors, she said, “I’ve worked for 84 years and I like work better than I do housework.”
ILLINOIS REPRESENTATIVE RON STEPHENS ANNOUNCED HIS IMMEDIATE RESIGNATION from the Illinois General Assembly in August. He was the GOP assistant minority leader. Stephens, a decorated Vietnam veteran and pharmacist who battled substance abuse in the past and was arrested last year for driving under the influence of alcohol, said his personal problems did not determine his decision. The new redistricting map put Stephens in the same district as fellow Republican Representative John Cavaletto. “That made the decision a little bit easier,” he said. Stephens was known as one of the most vocal conservatives in the legislature.
NEW MEXICO’S LONG-TIME CHIEF CLERK, Margaret Larragoite, died at 84 following a public service career that spanned some 40 years. After a stint as deputy clerk in the House, she took a job at the state Bureau of Revenue and later managed the Santa Fe office of the late U.S. Senator Joseph Montoya. She was Senate clerk from 1991 through 2007. “She just did a fantastic job as clerk of the Senate,” said Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings. “She really understood politics,” said Senator Nancy Rodriguez. “She always had great resolve in getting things done.” An annual tradition in the Legislature honored her with a mariachi band serenading her with the song “Margarita.”