Former Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty backs Wisconsin Gov. Walker on union standoff

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
Font Size:

As the saying goes: Don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his boots. And former Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty knows how the soles of Scott Walker’s feet must feel right about now.

On Tuesday’s “Morning Joe” on MSNBC, Fenty, a Democrat, said the Republican governor of Wisconsin was spot-on in his standoff against his state’s pro-union forces. Fenty said the Wisconsin Democrats who are on the lam should do their duty and vote up or down on the legislation.

“Well, this is kind of what I faced four years as a mayor,” Fenty said. “He’s right on the substance, I think. I tend to agree with him on the need for collective bargaining reform. But he’s also right on the politics. I just don’t understand why the legislature has been given this pass to go to another state and not do what they were sworn to do, and that’s to take a vote. And unfortunately for Gov. Walker, he hasn’t been able to get that out. He needs to point the finger a little bit more at them and say, ‘Listen, they should take a vote. All I want is them to vote up or down and then I’ll be fine with whatever they decide.’”

“Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski objected to Fenty’s stance, explaining Walker hasn’t been willing to compromise. However, the former Washington mayor said he shouldn’t have to.

“But, again, I think just as Pat [Buchanan] just said, he has the votes in the legislature,” Fenty said. “All you should have to do as an executive is to get a majority of the votes. Had that happened early on in this process, I don’t think he would have taken all the bows and arrows and shots that he has.”

Last year, the teachers’ union was credited with unseating Fenty in the Democratic primary against Vincent Gray, the current mayor of Washington. Fenty explained that some elements of public sector union collective bargaining are outdated.

“The substance of it, I do,” Fenty continued. “There was a discussion on the show a couple of weeks ago that said most governors and mayors would love to be able to manage their team without the interference of collective bargaining. It’s true. I believe that managers have the ability to set fair wages and to set fair hours and to reward people or hold them accountable. I think it’s a new day. I think a lot of collective bargaining agreements are completely outdated. That being said, I really do believe if you are in a state house, the state legislature needs to vote up or down and then let’s move on. I bet he would be willing to accept whatever they come up with.”