It’s just a formality at this point, as we’ve known for some time who the next Speaker of the House will be, but House Democrats chose Rep. Chris Donovan as their new leader, and Denise Merrill as the next majority leader. Democrats control the House 114-37, should all current results stand.
Donovan faces a mountain to climb once he officially takes up leadership of the House in January. The economy is sinking, and the deficit is rising. A special session scheduled for later this month may provide a few solutions, but the economy, jobs, and the budget deficit are going to be the topics that dominate in 2009.
What sort of leader will he turn out to be? Donovan isn’t known for the bluster and bombast that characterized Jim Amann’s tenure, but he is generally regarded as more liberal than the outgoing speaker. How well will he work with conservative Democrats and Republicans?
Senate Democrats re-elected Donald Williams as Senate President Pro Tem, and Martin Looney as majority leader.