Friday, November 30, 2012

Farewell, Assembly Member Mastroluca.

Last night, everyone was shocked. Hardly anyone was expecting this.

April Mastroluca [D-Henderson], a Democratic assemblywoman poised to play a key role in the 2013 Legislature, will send a letter to Gov. Brian Sandoval on Friday announcing her resignation.

The stunning move comes after the potential Ways and Means chairwoman decided, she says, that she could no longer serve because of what she described as family issues. She declined to elaborate, but she sounded shaken during a phone conversation. [...]

"This has been a difficult decision," Mastroluca told me. "I have struggled with it for weeks. But I have to put my family first."

There was early speculation that this involved a possible conflict of interest with her day job with national PTA, but that's looking increasingly unlikely. Rather, this probably involves some kind of family tragedy. It's very saddening and unfortunate.

Mastroluca tended to be a rare "straight shooter" in the Legislature who said what was on her mind and cut through the BS. She was especially passionate about education, children's, and women's issues. And she was already set to play a huge role in the 77th session as the incoming Assembly Ways and Means Chair.

Clearly, these are some big heels to fill. But already, there's plenty of speculation on who will replace her. Remember that the Clark County Commission will officially do so. Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick (D-North Las Vegas) was hoping the Commission would take care of this next Tuesday, but the state open meeting law (requiring a three business day advance notice of agenda) won't allow for that. Yet even though the next scheduled meeting will be December 18, the Commission may call a special meeting earlier to appoint a replacement.

Remember that under state law, the Clark County Commission must appoint another Democrat who lives in Assembly District 29 to replace Mastroluca. So now, all political eyes turn to Henderson as discussion ramps up on who will replace April Mastroluca. All I can say right now is that so far discussion is centered around a few women involved with the Henderson Democratic Club and Emerge Nevada (an organization that cultivates Democratic women to run for office). Mastroluca herself, along with Speaker-in-waiting Kirkpatrick, will likely have a hand in choosing her own replacement.

Right now, most everyone is still in shock over the turn of events in the past 24 hours. And many hearts have been going out to April Mastroluca and her family. But of course, politics can't be put aside forever. And this weekend, we'll be hearing more about this new race to fill her vacant Assembly seat. Let the games begin.

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