The 2014 elections are now formally “historic.”
The House of Representatives will seat a Republican majority for the first time since 1953. Gov. Susana Martinez goes into the record books as the Republican with the largest-margin win over a Democratic opponent, 57 percent to 43 percent.
The House now boasts 37 Republicans to 33 Democrats. NFIB endorsed 30 of the winning Republicans and 1 of the winning Democrats. Rep. Don Tripp and newly elected David Adkins both have membership ties with NFIB. The impact of the change in party leadership will be felt at all levels.
We are waiting to see who gets tapped as the new speaker, majority leader and whip. While a bit more inside baseball, a big impact will be felt at the House committee level. Every committee will have a new chairman and vice chairman, new analytical staff and probably a new configuration of members.
We are expecting to see a significant rise in pro-small-business, and pro-all-business, legislation actually being deliberated. Taxes, workers compensations reform, tort reform and even right-to-work are being talked up as future legislative initiatives. However, we also can expect a flood of special interest legislation like minimum-wage increases, wage theft, wage fraud, private right of action, higher taxes and other measures to use with voters in the upcoming 2016 elections. That year, both the House and Senate are in the election mix.
The Senate was not up for election this year, so Democrats still maintain control by 25 to 17. We are confident pro-small-business Democrats will feel more emboldened on our issues.
Now that the votes are in and we know who is in charge of the House, the focus needs to turn to governing. Having the power is a new position for the Republicans and requires a new mindset. How easily the leadership moves from being on the defensive to crafting positive and meaningful public policy remains to be seen.
The choices of the Governor’s priorities in her second term will make a difference, too. The scramble to know who in her cabinet stays and goes has begun. Also, with the national attention there is that back-of-the-mind thought about whether or not she will be heavily courted to the national stage for the 2016 elections. President, vice president and Susana Martinez are sharing the same sentences quite often these days. The governor has publicly said she is not interested, so for today we have the D.C. question answered.
The coming 60-day legislative session and subsequent 30-day session in 2016 may prove overall to be more positive for our members than in recent history.