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Labor has Roadkill Caucus in its headlights

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on May 12, 2010 at 1:52 pm with 2 Comments »
May 12, 2010 1:52 pm

Days before the state’s biggest labor group makes its campaign endorsements, its president has some tough words for centrist Democrats in the Legislature.

The self-styled Roadkill Caucus isn’t even truly centrist, Washington State Labor Council President Rick Bender writes in the council’s newsletter out today:

… this year, something different emerged, masquerading as moderate. It’s a group of Democrats calling themselves the Roadkill Caucus. They espouse a pro-corporate, anti-government agenda. They use the same rhetoric Republicans use about Washington having a horrible business climate, about the need to “reduce government’s footprint,” and even labeling their fellow party members as “too liberal.” They pit constituencies against each other — rural areas vs. Seattle — in open defiance of the party’s theme of “One Washington.”

The Roadkill Caucus, so-called by members who feel they’ve been run over too many times in a Legislature with many powerful liberals, has a roster that includes South Sound legislators like Sens. Jim Kastama and Derek Kilmer and Reps. Fred Finn, Kathy Haigh, Christopher Hurst, Troy Kelley and Larry Seaquist.

Most of these legislators won’t be expecting an endorsement on Saturday.

In a potential preview, a state employees union that is part of the labor council snubbed all of them, along with most of the Legislature, in its endorsements last month.

Bender singled out Hurst for criticizing Seattle liberals. The Enumclaw resident is running as an “independent Democrat” this year.

He says moderates need more influence in the House Democratic Caucus. But Bender credits them with having enough influence to block unemployment insurance changes “in exchange for (Roadkill) caucus votes to raise taxes.”

Many of the Roadkill members voted for tax increases, while advocating more cuts to state worker compensation and privatization of government services than many Democrats were willing to do.

Leave a comment Comments → 2
  1. wandertom says:

    I supported, worked for and voted for Derek Kilmer when he was first running for office. I was happy that he took office.

    I was shocked to find out that he pushed legislation to repeal the Legislature’s control of tuition for UW, WSU and Western, which would allow those colleges to raise tuition without traditional limits. In other words, he is encouraged those college to make public higher ed much more expensive–7 and 14% per year increases aren’t enough. On his website, Kilmer says that “believes a strong educational system is fundamental to Washington State’s success.” Strong for who?

    Having gone to a super expensive IV league school (Princeton), what does he care if our kids are loaded with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on leaving school?

    I feel like Kilmer has betrayed my support, and if we are going to have a Republican in office, we might as well have one that is honest about it. Kilmer is up for election and deserves to be roadkill in 2010.

  2. wandertom says:

    I supported, worked for and voted for Derek Kilmer when he was first running for state senate. I was happy that he won.

    I was shocked to find out that he pushed legislation this session to repeal the Legislature’s control of tuition for UW, WSU and Western, which would allow those colleges to raise tuition without limit. In other words, he is encouraged those college to make public higher ed much more expensive–7 and 14% per year increases aren’t enough. On his website, Kilmer says that “believes a strong educational system is fundamental to Washington State’s success.” Strong for who?

    Having gone to a super expensive IV league private school (Princeton), what does Kilmer care if our kids are loaded with tens of thousands of dollars of debt from public universities?

    I feel like Kilmer has betrayed my support, and if we are going to have a Republican in office, we might as well have one that is honest about it. Kilmer is up for election in 2010 and deserves to be roadkill.

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