Kucinich is a congressman in search of a congressional district. You see, a Republican-led redistricting effort is under way in the state of Ohio and there is much speculation that Kucinich, 64, will be redistricted right out of office.
Too bad. Those are the breaks. But that doesn’t mean Washington state should be saddled with him.
Apparently the Ohio Democrat thinks quite highly of himself and believes that if he cannot serve the good people of Ohio’s 10th Congressional District, that he’ll find a district somewhere in the country that will appreciate his talents and welcome him with open arms. Since Washington state is about to gain a 10th seat in Congress, Kucinich supporters here — and, according to his staff member, 19 other states — have courted him to run for Congress from their area.
How’s that for stroking a politician’s ego?
Kucinich was first elected to public office in 1969 as a 23-year-old member of the Cleveland City Council. He was elected mayor of Cleveland in 1977 and served two years before he was defeated in a re-election bid. He served in the Ohio state Senate from 1995 until 1997. He was finally successful in his third run for Congress and has served in Washington, D.C., since January 1997. Over the course of his life Kucinich has also run unsuccessfully for — among other positions — secretary of state and governor of Ohio and president of the United States of America (twice).
He always seems to be a man in search of a public office.
According to congressional recaps, Kucinich voted against the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, but tried to impeach President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. He voted against the war in Iraq and for the controversial health care reform legislation last year despite his long-time advocacy of a single-payer health care system. Kucinich voted against the USA Patriot Act, moved from pro-life to pro-choice and criticized the flag burning amendment.
Now, some Washington residents believe the liberal congressman from Ohio would be a good match for this state.
Cheryl Crist of Olympia, who has three times launched her own unsuccessful bids for Congress, led Kucinich’s presidential campaign activity in Thurston County and is a friend of the Ohio congressman. Crist is among supporters who want Kucinich to shift his home base to this state and represent the yet-to-be-created 10th District or, in the alternative, run in the 1st Congressional District. The Democratic incumbent, U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee of Bainbridge Island, is likely to vacate that seat for his second run for governor.
No doubt, Kucinich has a local following. At a February appearance in downtown Olympia, a standing-room only crowd of about 800 people showed up. An audience member dangled the possibility of a local congressional campaign in front of Kucinich, who has said he will fight to stay in Congress and promote liberal policies. He told the Cleveland newspaper he would not discuss speculation about other states.
“We need him in Congress. He’s a counterbalance to the war machine. … Some district needs to keep him in office. I’m hoping it is here,” Crist said.
Sorry, we respectfully disagree.
What does Dennis Kucinich know about Northwest and Washington state issues? How many salmon recovery plans has he put together as an Ohio congressman? Does he know the part the Bonneville Power Administration plays in keeping Washington utility rates among the lowest in the nation? What does Kucinich know about the strong environmental ethic of the Pacific Northwest and the spirited individualism of Washington residents? Beyond name recognition, what does he have to offer Washington voters?
We suggest the good people of Ohio decide the political fate of Dennis Kucinich during the next congressional election. Washington state doesn’t need an outsider trying to weasel his way into office just so he can continue to walk the halls of Congress. We’ll stick with the homegrown talent that knows this state, its issues and its people and their priorities.
Thanks, Dennis Kucinich, but no thanks.