Senate President Wants Mongiardo To Vacate Seat

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Now that Daniel Mongiardo will be taking
the oath of office as lieutenant governor on Dec. 11, Senate
President David Williams wants him to vacate his seat in the Senate
Mongiardo says he'll keep his seat until he is officially sworn
in, however.
The General Assembly starts Jan. 8, and Williams, R-Burkesville,
said if Mongiardo resigned immediately, voters would have a state
senator in place to prepare for it. Mongiardo's district covers
Bell, Harlan, Leslie and Perry counties.
Williams released a letter Wednesday that he sent to Mongiardo
on Nov. 9, three days after the election in which Mongiardo won
office on the Democratic ticket with Gov.-elect Steve Beshear.
Mongiardo responded late Wednesday that he would wait until the
"At that point I will resign my seat and it will be the
responsibility of the governor to set a date for a special election
and I'm sure he will do so promptly."
Williams said he based his request to Mongiardo on reading that
Mongiardo will be spending much time as co-chair of Beshear's
transition team. He said he does not understand why Mongiardo is
staying on as a senator.
"It now will be late January at the earliest before his
replacement can join the Senate and that person will have no
preparation for the job," Williams said.
If Mongiardo resigns now, Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher could
set the election date. If he waits until the inauguration, Steve
Beshear, as governor, would call the election. The law requires a
special election to be at least 35 days from the day the governor
issues the date for it.
"Your delay until the inauguration would force a special
election to occur during the session and will undoubtedly
politicize the beginning of the session and distract the members
from the bipartisan cooperation you and Gov.-elect Beshear openly
espoused," Williams said in his letter to Mongiardo.
State Rep. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, said he would be interested
in running for the Senate seat. Other possible GOP contenders, he
said, include Rep. Tim Couch of Hyden and Leslie County Clerk Jim
Lewis of Hyden.
Lewis said he is "looking at" the Senate seat but has made no
final decision. Couch was not immediately available for comment.
Former state Rep. Roger Noe of Cumberland, a Democrat, has said
he is interested in the seat.
Information from: Lexington Herald-Leader,

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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