He's Been Mean for 14 Years!

It worked. He won.

Key appointments
When it came time to award committee chairmanships, Aldridge helped those who supported him, hurt those who didn't--and made absolutely no attempt to hide either his vindictiveness or his favoritism.

Representative John Verkamp got the Snickers Bar of assignments: He'll chair the Judiciary Committee. Representative Tom Smith, who had the audacity to run against Aldridge for Speaker, lost the top post at Judiciary and instead gets a box of stale pumpkin seeds: the Public Institutions and Universities Committee.

Representative Joe Hart, who also challenged Aldridge for Speaker, didn't get a committee at all.

Representative Jean McGrath, a saucy, up-and-coming second-term Republican, was considered a shoo-in for something, if only a vice chairwomanship. She got nothing, too.

She and Aldridge have a contentious relationship and recently engaged in a heated discussion in a recent Republican caucus meeting over Aldridge's possession of a master key to all representatives' offices.

He'll Probably Be Mean for Years to Come!

A moderate speaks: Part I
Republican Representative Susan Gerard, a moderate and therefore definitely not on the same ideological wavelength as Aldridge, doesn't mince words when it comes to the new Speaker.

"I think he's [Aldridge] very unprofessional, and I think he's going to be a disaster as Speaker."

A moderate speaks: Part II
"On a one-on-one basis, I don't have any trouble working with him," Representative Sue Gerard says. "One thing the guy seems to respect in people is that if he perceives them in any way to be smart or knowledgeable in a subject. And he truly believes that I'm really smart, and that nobody knows more about health-care issues than I do. So he respects that."

So, is Aldridge himself smart?
"I don't think so."

Everyone else whispers
Don Aldridge is so mean that most people won't go on the record to tell you how mean he is, because they're afraid he'll be even meaner in the future.

One House member begs that his/her name not be connected to any Aldridge-related writings. "Someone else might not retaliate against me if I said these things, but I don't know what he'd do."

"You won't get me to talk about it," says a lobbyist who can almost always be relied on for a good quote. And no, this male or female lobbyist says, no one else is going to talk about it, either.

"We can't talk because we're still in the process," the genderless, absolutely unidentified lobbyist says. "And you don't want your claim to fame to be, 'Oh, by the way, the Speaker doesn't like me. And since the New Times [printed my comments], he really doesn't like me.'

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