SACRAMENTO — Republican Assembly members berated one of their own this week for what they perceived as an act of betrayal: accepting an appointment from Democratic Speaker Willie Brown to the key budget committee.
Assemblyman Paul V. Horcher (R-Diamond Bar) emerged somewhat shaken after a closed-door meeting Tuesday at which the lower house's 31 other Republicans attacked him for accepting Brown's offer to become vice chairman of the powerful Assembly Ways and Means Committee, sources said.
"Paul Horcher should not have accepted the appointment," Assembly Minority Leader Jim Brulte (R-Rancho Cucamonga) said after the Republican caucus.
Brown's selection of Horcher for the committee leadership post came after the Speaker had rejected Brulte's suggestion of another Republican for the post. After the rejection, Brulte urged Republicans to refuse the vice chairmanship if it was offered by Brown independent of the GOP leadership.
Despite his upbraiding by fellow Republicans, Horcher vowed to keep his seat on Ways and Means. "It's an honor to stay on it," he said.
Asked about the grilling he received in the private party caucus, which lasted for more than half an hour, Horcher said, "I'm finding out who my friends are."
As vice chairman of Ways and Means, Horcher is granted additional staff. He has also received one of the most spacious corner offices, compliments of the Democratic leadership. Horcher insisted that the trappings of the post on Ways and Means have nothing to do with his decision to hold onto the vice chairmanship.
"I'm a public servant, not a prima donna," he said.
Horcher's district includes Whittier, La Mirada and West Covina.