I just learned that our assembly member, Sandré Swanson, and two other Democrats in the State Assembly have been stripped of committee chairmanships because the refused to fall in line with the rest of the Democratic caucus.
Swanson was striped of his position as chair of the Assembly Labor and Employment committee by Assembly speaker Karen Bass, because he voted on principle, breaking with the Democratic caucus.
A Contra Costa Times article from Wednesday
has the story. In this article, Swanson is quoted: "To ask members not to protest these cuts — it's a violation of my principles when I know workers are there to serve the elderly, catch a person when they fall," Swanson said. "Particularly at a time when this budget had $1 billion in tax breaks for corporations."
Apparently the Democrats had come up with a budget compromise to woo enough Republicans to join them to get the 2/3 majority needed to pass the budget. Even if I disagreed with Swanson's position, I think that he has a right to vary from the Party line from time to time. (If our representatives voted alike 100% of the time, why bother having multiple representatives?) Swanson should first and foremost be allowed to represent us, the voters in his district.
An editorial this morning
from the CC Times disagrees with Swanson's position — this is Conservative Contra Costa, after all — but believes that these three lawmakers shouldn't be punished for independent thinking.
Democrats stand for diversity, but in this case, Karen Bass is showing that diverse opinions in her party will result in retribution. Please call Karen Bass's office at (916) 319-2047
and let them know what you think. The email I got alerting me about this said that Bass was not even aware there was any controversy about this, so every phone call really counts.