Recently, Sen. Curt McKenzie (R-Nampa) declined to schedule a hearing for minimum wage legislation, telling The Spokesman-Review, “I don’t think it’s supported by my constituency.” However, when given the statistic that 70 percent of Idahoans favor raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour — as indicated by a poll conducted by Dan Jones & Associates last summer — Sen. McKenzie responded, “That’s just my impression — I could be wrong. But I don’t see this as an issue that my party, the Republican Party, generally advances. My district has been consistently Republican ... for a long time.”
I’m curious. When did it become the job of an elected official to represent views of a political party over voices of the people?
Despite the fact that 18 percent of his constituents live in poverty, and despite the fact that the most vulnerable populations, women and minorities, make up 50.6 and 30.9 percent of his constituency, respectively, Sen. McKenzie doesn’t know his “consistently Republican” constituency would support this legislation.
Perhaps granting a hearing on this legislation would help Sen. McKenzie determine what the people who put him in office want rather than what the Republican Party would have him do.
McKenzie Perkins, Boise