Assemblyman Mike Villines Confirms Resignation

May 7, 2009 7:26:02 PM PDT
Local Republican Assemblyman Mike Villines announced he will resign his post as minority leader on June first.The Clovis lawmaker cited the stress on his family, and said he had always planned to resign around that time.

While Assemblyman Mike Villines says his resignation had more to do with the toll his leadership job had taken on his family, the Central Valley Republican admits the pressure from anti-tax activists also influenced his decision.

Assm. Mike Villines said, "It hasn't been fun taking the shots, but I just take it in stride. When we get elected, our job is to look past all that, get to the details, try to solve a problem and move forward."

As GOP leader, Villines helped negotiate a budget agreement that closed a $42 billion dollar deficit with deep cuts and new taxes. He and five other Republicans provided the minimum votes needed to pass those unpopular taxes, but the move drew the wrath of fiscal Conservatives, who on websites and blogs, vilified them.

It cost Senator Dave Cogdill his leadership post on the Senate side; and Senator Roy Ashburn and Assemblyman Anthony Adams are fighting for their political lives as recall drives are underway to boot them from office.

"It's difficult to build a party when you're tearing it down at the same time. No question about that," Assm. Anthony Adams.

Republicans unanimously elected a new leader, Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee of San Luis Obispo, who describes himself as an anti-tax 'fiscal hawk' that Californians want.

Assm. Sam Blakeslee said, "They're looking for reforms that don't raise taxes and hurt working families. That's what I commit to achieving, as we move forward."

But with California's finances still in dismal shape, budget negotiations won't get any easier under a new leader.

"Well, I think another no-taxes person at the helm isn't going to get us the kind of compromises that we need," said Sen. Dean Florez

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