Does Cagle’s move mean more of the same?

So much political intrigue.

The news that Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle will stay put rather than run for governor is causing several politicians to rethink what their next move will be.

Folks who had been thinking about jumping in the lieutenant governor’s race now are seeking alternative races because few want to take on an incumbent.

But here’s the discouraging reality.

For the last couple of years, there’s been growing tension between Cagle, who presides over the state Senate; and House Speaker Glenn Richardson.

That relationship totally degenerated this year and led to total stalemate on passing meaningful legislation, such as a plan for transportation funding or minimal support for MARTA.

Now that Cagle intends to try to keep his seat, and the fact that Richardson seems perfectly happy growing his power base at the House, the very real danger exists that we’ll keep getting a repeat of inaction year after year.

In short, Cagle and Richardson may be destined to continue trying to cancel each other out — making moves to prevent each other from getting legislative victories.

If that kind of childish behavior continues, citizens throughout Georgia will suffer. Legislation that is in the best interest of the state and metro Atlanta will be sacrificed by politicians playing their own little games. That’s the danger.

There are only four ways to change that equation.
First, Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle ends up having to resign for health reasons or he ends up not being re-elected because of strong opposition, either in the primary or general election.

Second option, Richardson does not get re-elected in his district or he loses control of the House (both of scenarios are longshots at best).
Third, that Cagle and Richardson will miraculously kiss and make up in the best interest of the state.

Or lastly, that the next governor will be a strong enough leader to break the political logjam between Cagle and Richardson.

During this past session, Gov. Sonny Perdue showed little willingness to step up and try to resolve the conflicts between the House and the Senate. Instead he seemed to have his own agenda that was rarely in sync with the agendas of Richardson and Cagle, resulting in a three-way tie.

All I know is that Georgia will be stuck in quick-sand unless the current political dynamics among our top state leaders undergo a dramatic transformation.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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