INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A GOP effort to take power away from Democratic State School Superintendent Glenda Ritz is now eligible for a final vote in the Indiana House.
The power struggle between Governor Mike Pence and Ritz is becoming more partisan and more personal.
On a recent public television program in Fort Wayne Senate President Pro Tem David Long seemed to question the qualifications of State Superintendent Glenda Ritz.
“Now, in all fairness,” he said, “Superintendent Ritz is a librarian, OK?”
He went on to say, “She has never run a school system. She’s probably the first superintendent we’ve ever had that has not had that experience.”
For supporters of Ritz it’s been viewed both as an attack on her and an attack on the voters who elected her.
“He still said it in a very condescending way,” said State Democratic Chairman John Zody.
“She knows what she’s talking about,” he said, “and she’s been an educator for almost 40 years.”
“First and foremost, understand that Glenda Ritz is a librarian,” said Long on Thursday in a media availability in the Statehouse.
He stood behind the bill to allow the State Board of Education to elect its chairman, a step that would remove Ritz in all likelihood.
“Those who oppose or would like to make it something it’s not,” he said, “will try to claim it’s a personal attack and it’s really not. It’s about trying to make sure that the board operates more effectively.”
And as for the the librarian remark Long said, “I don’t apologize for anything I said.”
And that means Glenda Ritz remains a GOP target.
Republicans in the Indiana House, meantime, softened the bill. They voted to make it take effect on July 1 instead of immediately after the governor signs it.
Democratic attempts to block the bill were unsuccessful.