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House Speaker Laments the Loss of Iron Mike

Valerie Woods

House Speaker Laments the Loss of Iron Mike

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Valerie Woods, also spoke fondly of the deceased parliamentarian.  Despite Espat’s silence in the house, he was a well-respected politician who wasn’t afraid to voice concerns raised by his constituents in Toledo East.


Valerie Woods, Speaker of the House

“[It] came as a shock, a tremendous loss.  Honorable Mike Espat has been a member of the House of Representatives for several decades, but has been a quiet member of the House of Representatives.  He certainly epitomizes, I think, in my view, the resilience, tenacity and the courage, even as a backbencher, to stand up and not, if you will, follow tradition where we just go along with the program.  He questions and that is the beauty of what should be in our democracy, notwithstanding [the fact] that he is part of the government side.  The Honorable Mike Espat has always put on record questions of concerns he’s had for his area.  He was also a member who was very local, very old school, but very vocal.  When he met with me in the position that I hold as presiding officer, there was a time when the group of backbenchers wanted to meet with me to understand the rules, the standing orders, to make sure because as they had put it, they see the style that I am trying to bring and he just wanted to understand and he said in all… I take it as a vote of confidence by the honorable member for Toledo East when he said in all his years he has to respect the fact that he sees what I am trying to do in, if you will, correcting even the government side.  And coming from somebody with far more experience than myself that understands the politics, I respected that and I appreciate that.  He certainly will be missed in the house.”

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