Dullest job in town

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Lt. Gov’s job to keep from being a pest

By Jay Miller

Lt. Gov. Diane Denish is getting tied so closely to Gov. Bill Richardson that one might think Denish is Richardson’s last name.

The Richardson-Denish or Richardson/Denish administration is being blamed for the ills of the past seven and a half years, thereby making the lieutenant governor equally responsible or at least a knowing accomplice in all the governor’s actions.

Two salient examples of this phenomenon have occurred since I wrote about Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Jerry Ortiz y Pino’s observance that the duties of the lieutenant governor make it the dullest job around.

The lieutenant governor’s duties consist of presiding over the Senate, breaking ties and being governor when the chief executive is out of state.

Then 40 years ago, a lieutenant governor was elected who needed a job. He was a former House member so his old colleagues gave him a break and passed legislation making the post full time if desired.

The problem was that no new duties were specified. If they had been, any governor might have vetoed it because the duties would have been carved out of his authority.