Jim Keane is a treasure. We in Butte are lucky to have him representing us in the Legislature.
He proved it again on Wednesday, when he stood up on the floor of the House and took vociferous objection to the right-to-work bill.
“Jobs and infrastructure,” he boomed. “Two things I love best, jobs and infrastructure.” He went on, “Day after day, week after week … we’ve been here 44 days and have we seen anything on jobs and infrastructure? No. Lots of social engineering? Yes.”
Keane continued, “But the comeback plan, which a lot of these people voted for — (as he pointed to workers who were present to protest the right-to-work bill) — hasn’t been here. There hasn’t been anything on jobs and infrastructure.
“And on the 44th day, the very first bill for jobs … is to kill these members’ (jobs). That’s what this is about. I want to talk about who they are for a minute.
“They’re your firefighters, they’re from all over the state, police officers, people who work in our hospitals, our nurses, all those people who work in counties and service the people of Montana. … they’re the two or three engineers who … have kept us warm every day here.”
Rep. Derek Harvey, too, did Butte proud.
“I know my past. I know my town’s past,” he said. “This is an outrageous bill, and it’s an outrage that it’s made it (this far) through the process.”
"Tip of the hat to all of our brothers and sisters from across the state. Montana has spoken loud and clear," said Butte Rep. Donavon Hawk after the vote.
Twenty-nine Republicans crossed party lines to vote with Democrats, killing right to work by a 38-62 margin. They are to be congratulated, too, for their good sense and political courage. That includes southwest Montana Representatives Ken Walsh, Tom Welch and Gregory Frazer.
As our Butte delegation in the House reminded colleagues, Montana is not a right-to-work state. Never will be.
We’d like to see a little more aisle-crossing in the name of common sense in this Legislature.