A leading Republican Senate candidate broke with her party on the issue of labor rights at a GOP conference late last week. Former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle (R), running for Senate in 2012, told ThinkProgress in an interview that she opposes her party’s support for right to work laws, particularly the proposal from leading presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Perry to enact national right to work legislation:
KEYES: There’s been a push, particularly among the leading presidential contenders of the Republican Party, in favor of a national right to work law. [...] Where do you come down on the issue?
LINGLE: I think I’d put that in the category that it’s up to the individual state. It’s not something I supported at home and wouldn’t feel as important part of a platform for a candidate such as myself.
Listen to it:
Lingle is right to oppose right to work laws, both at the national level and for states as well. Studies have shown that while right to work laws provide no discernible boost to economic growth, they do act as a punitive measure towards unions. Also known as “right to work for less,” such laws would drive down wages, union membership, and erode health and safety regulations.
Lingle’s bid to become just the second Republican senator from Hawaii (and first since 1977) will no doubt continue to be complicated by the Republican Party’s hard right shift over the past few years. Though Lingle distanced herself from GOP support for right to work laws, she embraced her party’s orthodoxy on protecting the wealthy, telling ThinkProgress that she could “never” support a tax on millionaires.