RWDSU union head Stuart Appelbaum just added to a growing body of publicly expressed establishment discontent by releasing a lengthy statement making light of the idea of Caroline Kennedy replacing Hillary Clinton. He says that another Kennedy in the Senate makes for a great story, but “this appointment is not to complete the final installment of a mini-series.”
Here’s his full statement, emailed to reporters this morning:
New York is famous for its great theater, and the drama unfolding in appointing Hillary Rodham Clinton’s replacement as New York’s junior Senator is no exception. Caroline Kennedy’s sudden interest in the position last week has the nation buzzing of another Senator Kennedy heading to Washington DC to fill a seat that her uncle, Robert, had once held. It is the stuff great drama is written about or perhaps a lifetime mini-series. However, this appointment is not to complete the final installment of a mini-series. The appointment of New York’s next junior Senator will have profound impacts on the lives of all New Yorkers and we can’t afford to take a chance on inexperience and unfamiliarity with all the complex issues that face our state. New York, like the nation, is facing an economic crisis of a magnitude we have not seen in our lifetime. Main Streets all over the country are hurting, but Wall Street is devastated and the residual effects on the entire State forecast New York’s most challenging days ahead. Now more than ever, New York needs two pit-bull fighters in the Senate to deliver their fair share of the stimulus package back home to get New York moving in the right direction again. We have one pit-bull in Senator Schumer who New York knows will fight tooth and nail to deliver, but he needs a partner. Starting day one, New York’s next junior Senator must know how to work Washington and be willing to stand and fight and deliver every nickel he/she can squeeze out of this stimulus package to get working men and women back to work and our economy back on track. Caroline Kennedy, although I’m sure a fascinating and engaging person, simply doesn’t have the experience or Washington know-how to get it done for New York. She is a blank slate on New York issues – we simply don’t know where she stands, what her priorities are for the state, or if and who she will fight for. Her voice has barely been heard during these long, last 8 years as so many of us have worked hard against the policies of the Bush Administration. As a union-leader, I need to know that our next Senator will understand and fight for the working men and women my union represents – the retail workers, the supermarket workers, the service workers– each of whom struggle everyday to make ends meet. We need to know that our next Senator understands the needs and worries of workers throughout our state and country who fear for their jobs and livelihoods and their ability to support themselves and their families. We need to know that our next Senator will understand and fight against companies like Wal-Mart that spend millions of dollars to keep their employees at sub-standard wages with no or minimal health care. We need to know that our next Senator will be out in front in the effort to enact the Employee Free Choice Act – a law that would give workers the tools they need to form unions so that they can improve their conditions and compensation. We need to know that our next Senator will make national health care reform a priority. We have just come through a historic presidential campaign that proved that we are a meritocracy – voters chose Barack Obama not because of race, or gender, or name, but on the quality of his ideals and the vision and leadership he offered to restore our economy and our standing in the world. Governor Paterson must choose Hillary’s replacement with the same principles the voters used this year. This decision cannot be made based on family name, race, religion, or gender. New York needs an aggressive champion to partner with Senator Schumer and deliver – whoever can best do that we should be calling Senator. We will need somebody who will have the experience and be prepared from their first day on the job to fight for all New Yorkers. The stakes are too great for on-the-job training. Governor Paterson, we can’t afford to take a chance on our next Senator. Choose the best candidate for the job – the candidate who has the vision and experience to get the job done from the moment they are sworn into office.