Looking positively California chic in his blue blazer and open-neck checkered shirt, short-term Haslam chief of staff Mark Cate held forth on a panel discussion at the RGA senior staff retreat in Dana Point, California earlier today and yesterday.
Sitting under cream-colored umbrellas while overlooking the Pacific Ocean at the St. Regis Hotel, Cate must have enthralled his luncheon tablemates while they noshed on quinoa salad and mini soft tacos.
The title of the panel led by Cate: “Education, Healthcare and Public-private partnerships.” Quite possibly the worst three subjects from Cate’s portfolio as Haslam’s chief of staff.
First was Education – Cate should have regaled those in attendance with stories on how the governor, Cate and their allies spent millions promoting Common Core, only to have its heart ripped out by the legislature, then running an unsuccessful campaign against several legislators who opposed the governor on Common Core.
Then on to Healthcare – no mention from Cate on the strategic genius behind the decision to call a failed special session on Obamacare/Medicaid expansion, getting bitch-slapped by the legislature, and then trying to pass is again a few weeks later (and getting humiliated again).
And as for Public/Private Partnerships – Cate should have used the opportunity to bring some clarification to the speculation that the $120 million in public money for the new state history museum that Cate shepherded through the legislature could now become a private revenue stream for Cate if, as rumored, he is put in charge of raising the $40 million in private funds required to build the museum. Making money for your friends off the taxpayers’ dime seems to be a recurring theme of the Haslam administration.