Murphy & his “Irish temper”

House Speaker Pat Murphy (D-Dubuque) just talked with a gaggle of reporters behind the House chamber.  The last question came from James Q. Lynch of The Cedar Rapids Gazette who asked Murphy: "What was the highlight of your weekend?"

Murphy paused, for several seconds, and — since I'd interviewed him this morning – I asked if the highlight might have been the dinner he got to have with his wife on Sunday night.  Murphy picked up that story and then praised the 25 Democrats who volunteered to stay in DSM this weekend to "spell" him as the voting machine in the House remained open.  But, in conclusion, Murphy admitted getting just 50 "yes" votes up on the board on Friday evening had angered him, prompting his snap decision to keep the voting machine open all weekend. "I really just had my Irish temper up and I wanted to the pass bill," Murphy said, then he left to meet in private with his fellow House Democrats.

Murphy also revealed today that Governor Chet Culver, a Democrat, had been actively engaged in trying to round up "yes" votes for the prevailing wage bill.  Murphy said Culver talked with several of the "yes" votes and talked with a couple of the Democrats who voted "no" to try to convince them to change their votes.  Murphy said the game plan is to keep open the behind-the-scenes negotiations between the legislative and executive branches on this prevailing wage bill, as well as three other labor bills.

This development is significant.  Culver had been given few public signals about his thoughts on these bills — until Friday night.  Culver angered union forces in Iowa — a key voting block in Democratic primaries — when he vetoed a bill last year that would have expanded the subjects government workers who are in a union can discuss during collective bargaining/contract talks.  Now, it appears Culver is mending fences with this constituency and actively engaged in helping legislators pass union-backed bills.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.