Monday, May 02, 2011

Madaleno, Kaiser Rip Arora; Others Apologize for Him

The fracas surrounding Del. Sam Arora continues. Sam, you may recall, is the delegate who was ardently for same-sex marriage before he was against it before he was for it before he, well, you get the idea. As the Gazette reported, two openly gay and lesbian legislators ripped Sam for his actions during the session.

Sen. Rich Madaleno:

"I think Sam Arora distinguished himself as someone not to be trusted, and I don't think he will have a long career in the House of Delegates," said Madaleno (D-Dist. 18) of Kensington, the Senate's only openly homosexual member." . . .

"When you co-sponsor a bill where the lead sponsor is the majority leader from your county who worked very hard to get you elected and you change your mind on the day of the vote, you damage, potentially fatally damage, your credibility," he said, referencing the bill's lead sponsor, House Majority Leader Kumar P. Barve (D-Dist. 17) of Gaithersburg.

Going forward, that could impact Arora's ability to get things done for his district, Madaleno said.

"For me, I will always have a doubt when he makes a commitment on any issue whether or not I can trust that commitment," he said.
Del. Anne Kaiser:
"I think it's definitely true that Sam hurt his reputation within the legislature and potentially within his district," she said, noting that her parents and other family members and friends supportive of the bill who live in Arora's district felt betrayed. "The sense was, ‘What is he going to back out on next?' His word was damaged."
However, Del. Ben Kramer--Sam Arora's colleague in District 19--attacked Sen. Madaleno for his comments:
"I do think that Sen. Madaleno saying that in a public forum was inappropriate and unnecessary," he said. "I can understand that Sen. Madaleno has a perspective based on a particular issue, but I don't think that it is accurate or reflective of Del. Arora's abilities or potential in the legislature."
So I guess Sen. Madaleno is really just overwrought and too sensitive? Or was it just bad form for another member of the club to call out Del. Arora for turning his back on his constituents and colleagues after campaigning for same-sex marriage, trumpeting his sponsorship of the bill to constituents, and telling colleagues he was for the bill just two days before the vote?

Meanwhile, Del. Kathleen Dumais--the floor leader for the bill--apologized for Sam:
Del. Kathleen M. Dumais said Arora handled the matter appropriately by discussing his dilemma with committee and chamber leaders.

"That gave us all the opportunity to talk him through [it]," she said. "I think that gives him credibility as opposed to not."

Dumais (D-Dist. 15) of Bethesda, who is vice chairwoman of the Judiciary Committee, believes Arora eventually has to tell constituents what led him to reconsider his stance. But she noted that such re-evaluation is not uncommon, particularly on emotionally charged issues.

"When we sit in committee and listen to hours of hours of hours of testimony on these tough issues, it gives you a different perspective than when you're out on the campaign trail and these things sound wonderful," she said.
Sam has moved on to extent of declaring same-sex marriage a relatively unimportant issue in a written statement:
"Every day I'm honored to work for the people of my district by working to protect education funding and make our communities safer," he wrote in the statement. "With all due respect to Senator Madeleno [sic], I'm finding the folks in my community are less concerned about Annapolis politics and more concerned with issues like caring for our seniors and improving Pepco."
Again, recall that this is a man who proudly campaigned on his support for same-sex marriage, took campaign donations on that basis, and then touted his sponsorship of the bill to constituents. And note that there is nothing on his current position on same-sex marriage.