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Lazich resignation ends eerie episode

State Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, made the right choice when she decided  to resign her position as assistant state Senate majority leader.

Lazich  is too committed to the New Berlin community she serves and too active with her  constituents to be lost over a matter of partisan wrangling.

Lazich does  not need to be assistant majority leader to have an impact because she is also  a member of the powerful Joint Finance Committee. That committee will have the  first shot at shaping the state’s biennial budget after Gov. Jim Doyle proposes  it. From that position, she will be able to have as much impact on its eventual  form as almost anyone in the state Legislature.

It is an important position  that will give her the opportunity to prove her claims of being conservative.

It  is the jostling for a leadership position that had needlessly placed her in jeopardy  in the first place.

She placed herself in harm’s way because of her vote  on who would be the state Senate majority leader. The vote was taken last month,  and Lazich voted for state Sen. Dale Schultz, R-Richland Center, who won the post,  ousting the man who had been interim majority leader, state Sen. Scott Fitzgerald,  R-Juneau.

Right after the vote, Lazich was named by Schultz to the powerful  Joint Finance Committee and elected as assistant majority leader.

Lazich’s  vote angered Waukesha County Republican Party Chairman Don Taylor as well as a  colleague, state Sen. Ted Kanavas, R-Brookfield. Not only did Lazich fail to vote  for a conservative who would actively guide such issues as a property tax freeze  and same-sex marriage, she lied to them about her vote — a confession she grudgingly  admitted to later.

Taylor told The Freeman after the vote he had had long  discussions with Lazich about the vote and she promised to vote for Fitzgerald.

Taylor  said he stressed the importance of passing a property tax freeze, a Taxpayer Bill  of Rights and other conservative issues in the upcoming biennial legislative session,  slated to begin in January.

Yet Schultz was one of a handful of state Senators  who refused to commit to voting for TABOR earlier this year when former state  Senate Majority Leader Mary Panzer, R-West Bend, was trying to hold a TABOR vote.

But  Taylor said after Lazich’s resignation, “I approve of what she did today.  That is a major step.”

Kanavas was also livid but said after she resigned,  “This is an act of contrition on Mary’s part. It’s now time for the state  Senate to go back to work.”

Lazich will certainly have the opportunity  to show that her work is focused on the values she espouses.

Regardless  of whether this leads her down the same road that faced Panzer when Panzer crossed  the conservative wing of the GOP, Lazich should have learned a valuable lesson  for future reference — honesty is the best policy.

– The Freeman, Waukesha  

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