Republicans control more state legislative seats and legislative chambers than perhaps at any time in the party’s history. So what are they going to do with all those majorities?
GOP state legislative leaders said at a press conference Wednesday that the plan is to focus on conservative bread-and-butter issues: economic growth, education, lower taxes, deregulation and pension reform.
“Republicans now control 69 of 99 legislature [chambers] across the country, and that translates to better public policy,” said Iowa House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, the incoming chair of the Republican Legislative Campaign Committee.
“It means there’s greater opportunities for all families and middle-class families to keep more of their own money, grow jobs, improve education and, of course, ease burdensome regulations,” Mr. Paulsen said. “This is about opportunities for those individual citizens and their families to go out and have success. And I think that’s what you should expect.”
Republicans marked perhaps their best year at the state level in the party’s history in the Nov. 4 election, gaining or keeping control of 69 legislative chambers and taking hold of both houses in 30 states, plus Nebraska’s one-body legislature.
Republicans also broke up Democratic supermajorities in four chambers: the California Assembly and Senate, the Delaware Senate and the Vermont House. Democrats now control both houses in just 11 states — down from 28 in 2010 — while state legislatures in eight states are split, according to the Republican State Leadership Committee.
Republicans also hold 31 of 50 governorships, offering the GOP what may be an unprecedented opportunity to implement the party’s agenda at the state level.
“Across America, this new generation of leaders has been elected, and people across the country can expect an entirely different view of what their government can do for them in their states,” said RSLC president Matt Walter.
He said Republican lawmakers reject the “old top-down, industrial-era model that has been the hallmark of the Obama-led federal administration here in Washington, D.C., and in many Democratic-run states across the country.”
“Unfortunately, that model eases the pain of America’s slow decline but doesn’t create growth and jobs and opportunities,” Mr. Walter said.
Forty-two of the 50 state legislatures convene in January, with most of the rest starting in February or March, although California and Maine began in December, according to MultiState Associates Inc.
“The public policy proving ground is at the state level,” Mr. Paulsen said. “That’s been shown over the years, and at least now we’re getting a chance to test out conservative policies and prove them across the country.”