State Senator Cullen decides to leave Democratic caucus
Photo: Senator Tim Cullen
MADISON- A Democratic state senator says he has quit his party's caucus after Majority Leader Mark Miller offered him a weak committee chairmanship post.
Sen. Tim Cullen of Janesville says Miller insulted him by offering him the chairmanship of the Small Business and Tourism Committee. Cullen turned the position down, saying the panel doesn't matter, and Miller responded by making him the only Senate Democrat without any committee chairmanship.
According to an email obtained by TODAY'S TMJ4, Cullen wrote to Senate Democrats, "Sen. Miller has made clear that he does not value or need my presence in Senate Committee leadership and, quite obviously, in the Senate Democratic Caucus."
Cullen says he will no longer join Senate Democrats' meetings and is considering whether to become an independent, but said he won't be a Republican.
Senator Miller released this statement in response to Cullen's announcement:
"I am disappointed in Senator Cullen and the decision he made today. Senator Cullen turned down the chairmanship of the Committee on Small Business Development and Tourism. He told me that if that was the committee offered to him, he would rather chair no committee at all. It was an important committee as small business is the economic engine for Wisconsin."
Democrats currently hold a 17-16 edge in the Senate. That will jump to 17-15 next month after Sen. Rich Zipperer, a Pewaukee Republican, leaves to join Gov. Scott Walker's staff.