WDEL | by Amy Cherry
State Rep. John Kowalko (D-Newark South) has been ousted from the influential House education committee after nearly a decade of service.
Kowalko told WDEL he learned of the news in a phone call this weekend from House Speaker Pete Schwartzkopf (D-Rehoboth Beach).
“He said, ‘Well you’ve become an activist. You carry your message to the blogs, to the papers, and on the radio, and you can’t be a legislator and be an activist,'” Kowalko alleged.
Kowalko, who has been extremely outspoken against the state’s priority schools plan, called the move a total abuse of power on the part of the speaker.
“What are you afraid of? Why are you taking and casting a pall on any dissenting voice that may arise out of this caucus. This is absolutely, beyond a doubt, not only an abuse of power, but also a concession to the forces that would dismantle democracy,” Kowalko said.
Kowalko was also stripped of his chairmanship on the House Energy Committee, where he had served for eight years. He said this was due to his opposition against the Data Centers, a proposed power plant that never came to be on the University of Delaware’s STAR campus.
“It establishes an attitude that, ‘if you challenge me, you’ll be punished for it.’ That is not the Democratic principles that I live under,” he said.
WDEL’s request for comment to Speaker Schwartzkopf hasn’t yet been returned.
To see a list of all the House committee assignments click here.