Photo by Camden Swita
The governor trashed Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna in a press conference this afternoon when she was asked about his decision to join attorney generals from 12 other (mostly red) states in filing a lawsuit against the federal government for the health care reform bill Congress passed yesterday.
“He may represent the people of Florida, but not on the dime of the people of Washington,” Gregoire said.
She found out about his decision when one of her aides brought her a newspaper this morning. She was evidently flabbergasted and immediately called McKenna and, according to her, asked him what he was doing, asked him why he hadn't consulted with her, and told him his decision was way out step with the her office and the majority leaders in the legislature.
“(McKenna) better be ready to represent me,” Gregoire said, half joking, because she would legally oppose his decision by filing a brief in opposition that the AG would have to argue.
It’s McKenna’s job to protect the people of Washington when he files suit, and Gregoire was baffled as to how this would protect Washingtonians.
“Whom does he represent?” she asked. “Not small businesses in Washington, not those on Medicare, not young people up to age 26," she said running through the list of people getting help from the Democratic health care bill. She continued: "He does not represent those with pre-existing conditions, not the hospitals whose emergency rooms to which people without medical insurance go. He does not represent the Speaker [of the House] (Rep. Frank Chopp), the Majority Leader (Sen. Lisa Brown), or the governor. Last I checked, we represent the people of this state.”
When she was asked whether she thought this had anything to do with his aspirations for the governorship, she said, “You’ll have to ask him.”
For McKenna's statement on his decision to join the suit check out our riginal post.
Gov. Gregoire released an official statement later in the day:
“I’m disappointed that the Attorney General would participate in a lawsuit to repeal a law that would help 1.5 million Washingtonians get access to affordable, quality health care.
“I completely disagree with the Attorney General’s decision and he does not represent me.
“He doesn’t represent the people of Washington who would get assistance so they could afford quality health insurance. He doesn’t represent the thousands of small businesses that would benefit from tax credits to provide coverage for their employees. He doesn’t represent the thousands who will no longer be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. He doesn’t represent the half million young people in our state who would be covered under their parents plan until they are 26. He doesn’t represent our state’s Medicare recipients. He doesn’t represent the taxpayers of Washington.
“This is landmark legislation that will cover over 32 million Americans who don’t have health care. I have made it clear to the Attorney General that I will actively oppose this lawsuit if it moves forward.”