Senator-elect John McComish’s gripes about his committee assignments earned him a tongue-lashing from Russell Pearce, who said his colleague needs to stop crying and get over it.
“I’ll buy him a box of Kleenex,” Pearce said of McComish’s complaints. “The whining’s got to stop.”
Pearce took umbrage with McComish’s complaints to the Arizona Capitol Times that the Senate president assigned him to only two committees, while every other member got at least three, and some Pearce allies got as many as five. Pearce denied that he used committee assignments to punish senators who didn’t support him in the Senate president’s race or that he gave less-favorable spots to new members who are moving over from the House.
The Senate president said he “bent over backwards” to give McComish preferable committee assignmenst and said he even created the Banking and Insurance Committee, which McComish will chair, based on McComish’s recommendation. McComish also will serve on the Economic Development and Jobs Creation panel.
Other senators who didn’t support Pearce for the presidency got key committee chairmanships, Pearce said. Senator-elect Rich Crandall will chair the Education Committee, Senator-elect Steve Yarbrough will chair the Finance Committee, and Senator-elect Nancy Barto will chair the Healthcare and Medical Liability Reform Committee.
“I have not punished anybody in this process,” Pearce said. “Don’t make up a story here. Don’t be giving credit to a pandering crybaby.”
McComish, a House member who was elected to the Senate in November, ran for Senate president but dropped out before the voting began. Pearce said that’s probably the source of McComish’s discontentedness.
“I was hoping he’d get over the fact that he didn’t win the presidency, couldn’t get out of the chutes,” Pearce said.
Pearce said McComish should have brought his complaints to him before airing them to the media. McComish told the Arizona Capitol Times that he sent Pearce an e-mail about the issue, but Pearce said he never received it.
McComish said he was disappointed that Pearce lashed out at him instead of addressing his complaints that he and other members will be “underutilized” during the upcoming session due to lopsided distribution of committee assignments.
“It’s unfortunate that Russell wants to make personal attacks. That’s not what I did. That’s not my intention. And it’s also unfortunate that he didn’t respond to the merits of my concern,” the Phoenix Republican said.
Some senators have too heavy a workload, McComish said. Sen. Andy Biggs, for example, will chair the Appropriations Committee while serving as vice chair of two other committees. Sen. Sylvia Allen will serve in leadership as president pro tem while serving on five committees.
McComish said Pearce appears to haved doled out better assignments to his allies.
“I’m not going to judge his motives. But if you look at the facts it would certainly seem that way,” McComish said.
Despite his harsh words, Pearce said he didn’t realize McComish had only two committee assignments and is willing to find another spot for him somewhere.
“I’ll fit him on Finance or another committee if I need to do that. I’m not opposed to that. But it seems like the nice thing John could’ve done is give me a call and let me know, instead of this approach,” Pearce said.