Governor-elect Hickenlooper’s somewhat surprising choice of Ellen Golombek as director of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment prompted the expected response from Republican legislators.
Mike Kopp, Republican senate minority leader, and Dick Wadhams, Republican Party chairman who presided over the Dan Maes campaign fiasco, were quick to whine about how a single cabinet member could do serious harm to the business community in Colorado.
In a press release, Kopp said the “appointment (of Golombek) to the Department of Labor may certainly take some of the air out of the bipartisan atmosphere he (Hickenlooper) has promised as governor.”
“It is certainly not the direction a pro-business moderate Democrat would head, said Wadhams, according to the Denver Post.
Kopp characterized Golombek as a progressive activist, which she is. He also called her a “union boss,” which– given her petite stature–presents an inaccurate caricature. “Union leader” is a better fit. Republicans oppose Golombek’s appointment because she is a labor person, plain and simple.
It’s an old Republican strategy: try to scare Hickenlooper, so that he won’t make another appointment that doesn’t fit the GOP political ideology. The truth is, though, Hickenlooper will be very good for business, it’s in his DNA. Union leaders can only hope that he will be as good for labor.
At last count, the governor-elect had named three Republicans to his cabinet, and he will probably add to that number.
But, lest Hickenlooper forget, hob-knobbing with giants of business and industry can prove costly to Democrats.
Bill Ritter tried to become good buddies with business when he vetoed a pro-worker bill at the beginning of his only term that would have repealed the onerous Colorado Labor Peace Act. Almost immediately, he lost the support of several major unions. Despite the veto, the business community never gave him the time of day during his term of office. After all, he was a Democrat.
In his press release, Kopp pointed out, somewhat threateningly, that Golombek must go through a senate confirmation process.
“Senators have the constitutional obligation to put to her the same critical questions that every Colorado employer will be asking: Will she promote politics that make it more costly or less costly for business to operate in Colorado? Will she be on the side of the bureaucracy or the taxpayer?”
My guess is that Ellen Golombek will not make her decisions based on such limited choices. Rather, she will do what is best for the commonweal.