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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Revolving Door

  They call it the revolving door.  One day a person leaves as a state lawmaker and the next day they walk through the revolving door and reenter as a lobbyist.
   Despite occasional claptrap about sticking a stick in the door, this remains a time-honored tradition as legislators with experience inside the house or senate, parlay that into a fancy smancy paycheck outside both bodies.
   The latest entrant is Rep. Virgil Smith, a democrat from Detroit.  He's out of work come December 31, but shed not a tear. He's snuggled up to the Detroit School board and landed a lobbying gig for the next six months at a likely $10 thou a month..about four thousand more than he is making right now.
    Some might wonder how  the district that is $400 million in debt and facing an almost certain financial takeover by the state…how did it come up with the bucks?
    Now the case could be made that the district has always had a Lansing lobbyist and the DPS is facing some tough issues in the New Year, so  it would want a voice at the capitol.
    At least that's how Mr. Smith going to Lansing sees it.
    "They need somebody that knows how to operate Lansing…and ultimately get things done," he tells FOX2 in Detroit.
     But the timing…cheez, doesn't it look bad?
     "Why would it look bad?  They need somebody up here to effectively get things done.  That's what I do," he defends the move.
     "Ludicrous," shouts Senator Irma Clark-Coleman, a democrat from Motown who argues the=2 0district can't afford this.
      "What makes him think that he knows how to do the game?" she gripes.  She wants the incoming financial manager to put a stick in the revolving door.


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