Kathy Lambert supports the African American community by sending money to African children and having black friends, she claims – Slog


Kathy Lambert needs a permanent vacation from her public service. KING COUNTY

Last Wednesday, in a virtual boardroom at a King County 3 District Candidates Forum hosted by the Issaquah Highlands, King County Republican Council member Kathy Lambert offered a bizarre, defensive response, irrelevant and revealing enough to a question about what she does. “to support the African American community.”

Chris Petzold, a resident of the Highlands area and founder of an Indivisible group working in Washington’s 8th Congressional District, asked Lambert the question three times during a conversation about the council’s decision to make Juneteenth a paid holiday for county employees. (Council liberals introduced the idea shortly after last summer’s uprisings, and Lambert said she opposed it because she believed the county should spend the money on others. things.)

Here is the audio of the conversation, followed by a transcript of the relevant passages:

Q: My question was more about how you are showing your support for the African American community in light of this vote.

Kathy Lambert: The way I do it is that I also work in Africa. I have two children whom I support in Africa. I sponsor a meal program in Africa. I teach at school in Africa and I help them. I help people in many communities around the world with my own personal money. And I don’t discriminate against anyone. The people in my circle of friends and in my community are all ethnic. I represent a domain that is Microsoft, and we have people from all over the world here, and it’s very special. So people who know me don’t fear that I will discriminate.

Lambert (continued): You cannot vote and say that is the pure reason for it. That is not the way government works. You need to figure out what the priorities are and how can we do it in a way that respects the fact that people have the option to opt out on June 17, but if taxpayers during a pandemic were to spend an additional $ 6 million on them. government employees – not everyone – just government employees to have another day off. So many blacks would not have had time off. There would be a lot of mixes who would take the day off that day. And I didn’t think it was fair.

Q: I’ll just say I haven’t heard anything about how you support the African American community in your response, so I’ll just say …

Lambert: Well, I would say I support Africans all over the world, and I have a lot of people in my community who are African Americans, and these are my friends, and we work together.

As do many conservative Republicans, Lambert apparently took a simple question about race as an implicit charge of racism and displayed an inability to talk about the issue in any nuance.

His response failed to distinguish between Africans and African Americans and suggested some blindness to, for example, racial disparities in policing, home ownership, vaccination rates, unemployment rates, park distribution, investments in communities such as Skyway and other examples of anti-black racism in King County that she could try to improve with her position of power if she really wanted to. Lambert did not respond when asked to highlight legislation she proposed to address one of these issues, so we wonder.

In the meantime, it’s worth briefly addressing Lambert’s larger (and smaller) objections to the county making paid holidays for Juneteenth and the Indigenous Peoples Day. from 2022 “subject to available financial resources, negotiations and potential impacts on existing county services”.

As she said in the forum, Lambert objected to the idea primarily because “it would add a 24th paid leave at this point in the pandemic for county employees.” I’m not sure where she got this number from, as the county only lists 10 paid holidays on its calendar. And anyway, as I mentioned before, the legislation makes the days off conditional on available funds and negotiation, so it doesn’t seem like those days are guaranteed in the event of an economic downturn.

She also argued that “spending $ 6 million to give county workers more days off and not giving that $ 6 million to hungry people was not a good expense” in the context of the pandemic, as the food shortage increased.

The $ 6 million figure Lambert refers to represents the estimated cost to the county in lost productivity and “overtime costs for bus drivers, correctional officers and other employees who will have to continue working during shifts. vacation “, according to the Seattle weather.

In committee meetings, the bill’s sponsor, King County Council member Rod Dembowski, argued that $ 6 million out of a $ 12 billion budget seemed like a small price to pay to encourage employees and residents of Martin Luther King Jr. County reflect on the significance of the day, which people celebrate each year to commemorate the time in 1865 when the slaves of Galveston, Texas learned of the freedom the state had them granted, and to talk about the work that needs to be done to fulfill America’s declared promise of freedom for all.

People can debate the extent to which paying King County employees money to have a day off or to work overtime on that day helps or ends up doing this job. removing county resources to meet other demands, but Lambert’s repeated claim that only county employees would benefit from the day seems myopic. The holiday inspired the state (and its much larger employee base) to take similar action, got all residents thinking about the day, and it could help put pressure on private employers to also offer the day.

On top of all this, the truth is, we all work too much anyway. Recent studies show that you can reduce working hours in the public sector without cutting wages and actually improving the productivity and well-being of workers. Giving more time off to more employees can actually make government more efficient, but don’t expect an ideologue like Lambert to accept it.

Fortunately for the residents of District 3, she is ready to be re-elected! And the Stranger Election Control Board knows a good replacement.

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