Contending that "the time has come for this spectacle to end," Shelby County Republican chairman Lang Wiseman has issued a press release calling for scandal-plagued state senator Paul Stanley to resign his seat, even if that opens the way to an immediate Democratic successor.
"I take this stand with full understanding that Senator Stanley's resignation might diminish the influence of our Party over the short term," said Wiseman, who acknowledged the possibility that a Democratic majority on the Shelby County Commission might appoint a Democrat to replace Stanley, a Germantown Republican.
But, Wiseman, referring only indirectly to revelations that Stanley had been involved in a sexual liaison with a former legislative intern that resulted in his being blackmailed, went on to say, "some principles are not worth compromising, and we as Republicans understand that demanding integrity sometimes commands a high price." The Shelby GOP chairman said that he and other local party members "have been in close contact with the Senate leadership over the past several days, and they have been working faithfully and diligently to secure a conclusion to these unfortunate events."
The full text of Wiseman's press release is as follows:
Shelby County Republican Party Chairman calls on Stanley to Resign from Senate
Wiseman says there are "certain basic standards that we require of
leaders and we have every right to expect that they will respect their position of honor"
"We are all obviously disappointed in the revelations of the past week involving Senator Paul Stanley. He was and is our friend, and we must not forget that he managed over the years to accomplish many great things on behalf of his constituents. However, as more and more details continue to surface, it is clear that the time has come for Paul to resign his seat in the Senate.
Many who have opposed Senator Stanley's politics seem to be taking pleasure in the irony of some of Paul's public positions as compared to his private failures. Such thinking is crass, objectionable, and misguided. Indeed, all of us fall short even of our most genuine hopes and aspirations. However, that should not somehow deter us from seeking policy that reflects our better nature. Thankfully, the quest for perfect law does not require perfect men.
Notwithstanding, there are certain basic standards that we require of those persons we hold up as our leaders, and we have every right to expect that they will respect their position of honor. It is for this reason that the time has come for Senator Stanley to do the honorable thing and step aside for the benefit of himself, his family, his Senate colleagues, his Party, and the voters of District 31.
Understand that the call for Paul's resignation is not about moralizing. We all deserve the chance for forgiveness if sought with a contrite and repentant heart. However, forgiveness is not the same thing as freedom from consequence.
I take this stand with full understanding that Senator Stanley's resignation might diminish the influence of our Party over the short term. Indeed, based on recent experience our newly Democrat-controlled County Commission may ultimately view this unfortunate episode through the lens of political opportunism, and again violate tradition and commonsense notions of fairness by appointing a Democrat to fill a seat in a heavily dominated Republican district. Having said that, some principles are not worth compromising, and we as Republicans understand that demanding integrity sometimes commands a high price.
While all due care must be taken with respect to the timing of Paul's resignation in order to avoid adding insult to injury to the people of District 31, and to minimize the impact on the taxpayer, the time has come for this spectacle to end. Indeed, we have been in close contact with the Senate leadership over the past several days, and they have been working faithfully and diligently to secure a conclusion to these unfortunate events.
Our thoughts are with Paul and his wife and children. We hope and pray that God will offer them comfort and peace in these difficult times."
UPDATE: Wiseman's call was followed by another from Senate GOP majority leader Mark Norris and, late Tuesday, by Stanley's resignation.
Stanley's letter of resignation, addressed to Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R=Bountville), went as follows:
Dear Governor Ramsey:
It has been an honor to serve with you in the State Senate in the 105th and 106th General Assemblies. Due to recent events, I have decided to focus my full attention on my family and resign my Senate seat effective August 10, 2009.
Thank you for your service as our Speaker of the Senate and Lieutenant Governor.
Senate District 31