Senate Republicans Block Schwarzenegger appointee over illegal immigration vote
Republican opposition to financial aid to children of illegal immigrants cost Kay Albiani her seat on the California Community Colleges Board of Governors Monday.
A long-time Elk Grove educator, Albiani voted along with the rest of the board of governors to endorse legislation that would allow fee waivers and student loans for the children of illegal immigrants.
“She supported benefits to illegal immigrants for tuition,” said Senate GOP Leader Dick Ackmern of Fullerton after the Albiani fell four votes short of the 27 she needed to win confirmation iby the 40-member Senate.
Albiani was appointed by Schwarzenegger to the governing board in 2004.
The Schwarzenegger administration knew Albiani’s confirmation vote was doomed because GOP lawmakers refused to vote for two other members of the community college board who in favor of the financial aid legislation, known as the California Dream Act.
Informed of GOP opposition, Democrats scheduled no confirmation hearings for John Koeberer and Rose Castillo Guilbault, and their terms expired. Albiani sought a public vote on her appointment.
“Governor Schwarzenegger stands by his appointment of Kay. It’s unfortunate the Senate did not confirm her.” said Rachel Cameron, a spokeswoman for the GOP governor. Albiani’s term on the board expires Jan. 15.
Three Democratic lawmakers each described Albiani, a Democratic candidate for the Assembly in 1992, as “imminently qualified,” and not deserving of defeat because of one vote on aid to immigrant children.
“What great crime did Kay Albiani commit?” asked Sen. Gil Cedillo, the Los Angeles Democrat who authored the California Dream Act.
Sen. Jack Scott, D-Pasadena, said it was wrong to create a litmus test, arguing that appointments by the governor should be evaluated primarily on the appointee’s qualifications. Scott pleaded with Republicans not to torpedo Albiani because they disagreed with her position on one issue.
Ackerman countered that when Democrats want to oust a gubernatorial appointee they find ways to do so beyond a simple assessment of the person’s qualifications. Democrats disputed Ackerman’s charge.
Most gubernatorial appointments are confirmed by simple majority vote of the Senate whose 25 Democrats are more than enough for passage.
Republicans only have leverage on those few appointments, which require a two-thirds vote. Besides the community college board, California State University trustees and members of the state Board of Education require a two-thirds vote for confirmation. Regents of the University of California, on the hand, require only 21 votes.
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