It was nice to see that a sizable group of Democratic legislators were viewing the workers’ rights rally Tuesday from the exterior second floor balcony of the Capitol.
That was really the first public indication that Colorado Democratic lawmakers had any interest in the plight of union workers in Wisconsin, even though that dispute has been ongoing for nearly two weeks.
Where were all the Democrats? Senate President Brandon Schaffer was there and a handful of other Democrats were probably in the crowd. Congressman Ed Perlmutter showed up but didn’t speak.
It was not, by any means, a forceful show of political support for working men and women.
I thought there would be a huge number of politicians demanding to speak at the rally. Maybe they weren’t asked. I don’t know. House Democrats said they were not permitted by the Republican majority leadership from leaving the house floor during the rally.
It’s hard to believe that, with a one-member majority in the House, the Republicans could prevent anybody from doing anything.
Perhaps the Democrats didn’t want to go outside on a beautiful winter day in Colorado. Or maybe they didn’t want to mingle with the Great Unwashed.
I’ll tell you this, though, if this rally had occurred 25 years ago, Democrats and even some Republicans would have walked off the floor and demanded to speak to the workers.
Legislators such as Eldon Cooper, a UAW official who later became president of the Colorado AFL-CIO; Dick Soash, a Democrat who represented a lot of miners in the northwest part of the state; Dave Wattenberg, a Republican from Walden; Ken Chlouber, a Republican who had been a union miner at Leadville, and a host of others would have been either at the podium or in the crowd showing support for the workers.
But at least some of our state lawmakers have taken a stand for working men and women. Not so with the Colorado congressional delegation. Where is Diana DeGette when we need her?
Neither of our two stalwart U.S. senators–Mark Udall and Michael Bennet—has expressed an opinion on the union busting campaigns in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Missouri, Michigan and Montana.
On the day after the rally, Bennet sent out a press release on a speech he made in Boulder. Udall’s last press release informed us he was co-sponsoring a bill that would change permitting rules for ski areas on Forest Service Land.
My, oh my, what courage.
We can only hope that, as the war on workers in Wisconsin and other states evolves, a little of the courage exhibited by the 14 Wisconsin state senators will rub off on their Colorado counterparts.
They grow big ones in Wisconsin.
As for Colorado, ah, well, you know. . .