Once the Chairman, Always the Chairman
just like old times. He was crusty, opinionated, direct and when he
called a former governor "the broad", you knew Harry Gast was still on
For 32 years Sen. Harry Gast was a fixture in this town as he rode
herd on the Senate Appropriations Committee with his own brand of
legislating i.e. open, brash, and no monkey business.
The St. Joseph Republican was a true one-of--a-kind and his style
is sorely missed in this town these days.
If you didn't know him, you might be afraid to approach him with a
question. He just didn't look very warm and fuzzy, but underneath the
exterior was somebody who got it.
He was not a knee-jerk conservative Republican who opposed every
revenue increase that came down the pike. He was open to them and
along with a handful of more moderate leaning R's in the senate, he did
not consider the word compromise to be a four-letter word as some Tea
Party folks do these days.
"I kinda of miss it," he reflected on the phone the other as he
quickly warmed to doing a media interview which he has not done for
"I wish I was there," he went on adding, "I've got some options
that could be employed." Once the budget chair, always the budget
So how is the governor doing?
"I voted for Hoekstra," the ex-senator reports but opted for Rick
Snyder in the general election.
"I'd give him a seven or eight and I applaud him for the change
he has suggested not like that broad who was in there before," he takes
a shot at the previous female governor.
What about the pension tax?
"I'm not too upset about it," he levels with the interviewer as
long as "everybody else gets hit with the same velocity." Great sound
What about using that money to fund business tax cuts?
"I'm not so sure about that," he concedes.
"I'm getting old," he observes having spent the night at the
hospital with his wife who had an unexpected ruptured vertebrae.
Mr. Gast concedes at times he feels a little "weak with dizzy
Did you take your medicine this morning?
Please take it now.
Hey, don't be bothering him with all that stuff. He'd rather jaw
about state government. After all with 57 years under his belt, he's
seen it all and is eager to talk again.
"You can call me anytime," he warmly suggests as the interview
Be well Mr. Chairman…and take those "G.D." pills as he referred