Senator Newhouse Decides To Go To War.
Navy Reserve pilot, Joe Newhouse was elected last year to replace a termed-out Mike Mazzei. Mazzei had perhaps the worst attendance record in the history of Oklahoma's legislative branch. Physical ailments were the ongoing nature of Mazzei's years long preoccupation.
But Newhouse, while being perhaps the most able-bodied in the upper chamber, is continuing to serve the US military, even while he is a member of the Oklahoma Senate.
Just this week, Newhouse released a statement, saying that his reserve unit is due to be activated for anti-terror service in northern Africa. Newhouse concedes that his state government service would likely grant him a deferral from the deployment, but he characterizes this as a moral duty, and he does not wish to exempt himself from an obligation to serve in the capacity that the federal government has paid and trained him for.
But that's little consolation to a district which has lost effective representation for most of the last ten years.
Unlike the rest of us, the legislature has no such thing as 'unpaid leave'. But that is what any other employer would assign to a reservist who gets shipped to the battlefields. Most employers now make a commitment to re-employ a returning soldier, but they don't keep signing a full paycheck to an employee who's also getting a full active duty paycheck from his military employer.
There's a strong case to make for what Senator Newhouse has decided to do. Yet Senate District 25's constituents have not gotten a fair deal in the past 10 years. That's not been Joe's fault , but it's still a concern he needs to address. It would also be good for everyone to know just when Newhouse first suspected that his Reserve unit would be activated?
Lieutenant Commander Newhouse has been selected by his fellow Oklahomans in District 25. They were aware of his current service for our nation's military. The potential for deployment is always an issue to consider when selecting a legislator who serves in the military. It would be wise for the rest of the Tulsa senatorial delegation to also work with Newhouse & his constituents, to make sure this sacrifice is easier for everyone to endure.
Let me clarify that everyone highly respects Newhouse for being a fine officer in the Navy.
I'm disgusted with the cheap argument from some on social media, that 'if you believe in senators showing up at the capitol, then you hate the military & you're not patriotic'.
My position is fully supportive of Joe Newhouse in his participation with the US military if, in fact; the US deems that Joe needs to be on active duty.
I also believe that a dedicated legislator is also being patriotic by participating in the duties of the office.
My contextual coverage of this "leave of absence" is VERY important, because the district's previous senator of the last 12 years has missed more days of session than any other senator in several decades.
It seems that the district is largely unconcerned about their lack of representation. So if they're okay with this, then I'll leave it be.
I mean, hey! One less vote for a revenue bill!
My question is whether it's better to go the Mike Mazzei route (keep the title and paycheck), or the Kevin Calvey route (step down for a season so someone else can be present, but come back later). I happen to respect the Calvey route.