Finally, organized labor has a history of being able to create common ground on economic issues that can overcome traditional divides. While the easy image of “labor” is a natural opponent of “management,” in Missouri labor is often the partner to drive economic development.
The pitch for Boeing’s 777x production was a recent example. But another striking example is the new Mississippi Bridge which will be in the news soon for an official ribbon-cutting. Organized labor was able to restart that project after political forces – Democrat/Republican, Missouri/Illinois – were mired in a stalemate.
From a Labor Tribune article in 2008: “After years of wrangling over the bridge, there was virtual war on both sides of the river over the size and how to finance it… [N]o one would budge… Talking about possibility of a neutral third party stepping in to help, then Business Manager Mike O’Connell and Assistant Business Manager Pat Kellett discovered that 562 organizer Scott Ramshaw, who is also president of the South County Labor Political Organization, was childhood friends with Missouri Highway Commissioner Mike Kehoe (whose father had been a Local 562 member)… When contacted by Ramshaw, Kehoe immediately turned to another commissioner, Bill McKenna… Because of his years of experience with the issue, Governor Matt Blunt had asked McKenna to stay on the commission after his term expired to see the bridge issue to completion… A two-hour meeting in May 2007 at the Plumbers and Pipefitters’ facilities included all the key players… When the meeting ended it was agreed that talks would re-start and continue until some kind of mutual agreement could be reached…”
Senate Perfects Vacancies Law
The Senate gave first-round approval to SB 507 which would addresses an issue that has recently vexed the Republican legislature: vacancies that the governor has left unfilled.
The bill – see it here – would hasten the governor’s calling of special elections, and would give some guidelines on the naming of an “acting director” for a department head.
The Democrats were active in debating the bill all week, and proposing amendments. One hallway observer wondered if the laborious floor debate was a signal that Dems were going to be talking and slowing down the flow as a session-long strategy. By doing so, they could help insure a full floor calendar by April when controversial items might be coming over from the House. And the competition for floor time might help senators conclude they’d rather be productive moving items to the finish line instead of spending precious time on issues which will be filibustered.
Schweich Keeps Chugging
Another fundraiser for Auditor Tom Schweich on the horizon…
Tuesday, February 18, 5 - 6:30pm at Capital City Cork.
On the host committee: Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder, Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, Speaker Tim Jones, Leaders Ron Richard and John Diehl, Sens. John Lamping, Kurt Schaefer, Eric Schmitt, Wayne Wallingford, and Rep. Todd Richardson.
And no Democrat in sight. Though one Democratic operative told me that Chris Koster prefers Schweich as a 2016 gubernatorial opponent. Therefore there may be a concerted effort to keep Schweich “strong” without a serious Democratic opponent, so that he has a serious chance at beating out Catherine Hanaway for the nomination.
Post Dings Curtis for High-Five Bill
The “Missouri’s official” bills are always an easy target for those who would mock the legislature. Rep. Courtney Curtis’ bill would make the “high-five” the official greeting of the state of Missouri. Post-Dispatch dings him on it here.
Happy birthday to former state senator Robin Wright Jones (64).
Sunday: Reps. Steve Hodges (65) and Diane Franklin (58), lobbyists Jim Foley (the big 5-0), and Otto Fajen (51), and Judy Moriarty (72).