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Carmichael wants to return seniority to District 33

By Staff
The Star: Is jobs the biggest issue for your district?
Carmichael: It's quality of life, which would include better paying jobs. It would include quality, affordable health care, the need to maintain the businesses that we have now to make sure they are successful in any way that we can.
It's no big secret that small business is the backbone of our country, much less our state. Not only the state economy, but the national economy is always a subject.
We know going into next year the budget is going to be something we're going to have to battle and we need to have our belts buckled tight and battle it like it ought to be.
The Star: Do you see the Legislature seriously looking at state agencies and trying to trim expenses that way?
Carmichael: The term I've heard the last few months has been performance-based budgeting. Do I see that happening? I think when it becomes a necessity, and I'm thinking we're there, yes, we're going to see some of that happening.
I think it was two years ago, I had a bill that basically formed a task force to look into the accountability of the state Department of Education, making sure our dollars were being spent from the top down the way they should be not from the bottom up.
The whole idea of the task force was to look at what the state Department of Education does this is ongoing as I'm speaking to you now and just where the dollars are going. If we did that in every agency, made them look at themselves with us looking with them, not just the Legislature but other business people, too, they would see if we save money at the top it's got to come down to the local and into the classroom where it's intended to go.
The Star: Will you support raising sales tax, income tax, corporate income tax or any other form of tax?
Carmichael: No. I'm not for raising any taxes. The ones that I might would look at would be the tax on casinos and how we're doing those kinds of things. Those, to me, would fit in the category of a "sin tax."
The Star: In your campaign, you've mentioned how your re-election will give the district a chance at seniority. Why is that an issue?
Carmichael: In Senate District 33, the last time the senator in this district had seniority this person was the pro tem (or vice president) of the Senate. Since Glen Deweese was the pro tem of the Senate, I guess I'm the third senator. So nobody has built any seniority.
I'm making that a point because we know that there are 12 senators who are not coming back some because they chose not to, a couple because they've been beat. That number won't go any lower and it could go higher. There is the opportunity to build seniority at a faster pace for this part of the state.
Let's say if I am defeated … can we, as an area of the state, afford to lose that seniority? Look at my record. If you don't think I've done a good job, I don't deserve the seniority and the weight it would carry for this area. I've tried to listen and be the kind of senator most people want me to be. I haven't made everybody happy, naturally. But I'm doing my best and will continue to listen and represent the whole district.
The Star: How would seniority help over the next legislative term? Do you see yourself possibly chairing a committee?
Carmichael: Yes. There are two or three areas I'm looking at in which I would like to have a chairmanship. The longer you're there and if you are doing a good job, you have a little more clout and, in some cases, a lot more clout.
I'm 53 years old, which is not old, but it's old enough. I've got some experience behind me, not only in the Legislature but life experience. I'm young enough to stay another term or two terms and still be a relatively young person.
And if I could get that leadership, who's to say we couldn't be another pro tem of the Senate or chairman of Appropriations or chairman of Finance?