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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Iowa Independent: Kevin McCarthy, Dawn Pettengill, and Fair Share

Excerpted from this post at Iowa Independent
As the Iowa legislative session came to a close early Sunday, House Democrats marveled that they had passed all but one of the items on their legislative agenda. The next day, they learned that they were short one more thing: a caucus member. The two issues were not unrelated. ... Fair Share, despite being passed in the Iowa Senate, never came to a vote in the House because, McCarthy said, "We just didn't have the votes to get it done." McCarthy said that the proposal had the support of 50 Democrats in the caucus but lacked that crucial 51st. "We don't have that large a majority." One Democratic representative, Ray Zirkelbach of Monticello is currently serving in Iraq, and in addition to Pettengill, two other members of the Democratic caucus refused to support the bill. McCarthy declined to name those representatives. McCarthy said that on the way to regaining the majority in the 2006 elections, some conservative Democrats ran, or were recruited, to defeat Republican incumbents. Keeping them on board for certain issues, he said was "challenging." In the interview, McCarthy did not seem angry that the bill failed to pass; he simply stated matter-of-factly that "the answer is to continue to try to educate [reluctant members] and to pick up a few more seats" in order to make up for deserters. ... McCarthy bristled at the suggestion that he had tried to strong-arm people for support. "I definitely didn't," he said. "We used tough arguments trying to convince peopleā€¦ We did that through civil and respectful conversation." McCarthy said, "The argument that we were strong-arming people was coming from right wing Republican propaganda." The charge, he said, was "a falsehood, a lie."

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