Saturday, January 27, 2007

Brian Hatfield, You Suck

There's nothing worse than a politician who won't stand ground of any kind, but sits on the fence to see which way the wind blows.

Brian Hatfield, a state senator from Washington's 19th District, has a history of doing exactly that.

What royally pisses me off is the condescending response he sent a friend of mine - one of his constituents - when she expressed her support for a bill that would create just a few domestic partnership rights for Washington state citizens.

His comments to her basically said the bill - mind you, a civil rights bill - wasn't a big deal and that he needed to focus on "what's important" for Washington. He and his spouse have all the rights they need, so screw everyone else:

Dear ,
> I am extremely torn over these types of measures.
> I believe they take way too much time and focus away
> from education,
> health care, job creation, etc... ...the things the
> state REALLY needs
> to be focusing on. I opposed DOMA legislation in
> the mid-90s, because
> it was clearly a "for politics only" attack from the
> far right, and a
> complete waste of time. Because of my previous
> votes, many people
> assume I will be an automatic "yes" vote on 5336 or
> similar measures.
> However, at this time, I really can't tell you how I
> will vote IF (and
> that's a pretty big "IF") these bills make it to the
> Senate Floor.
> Again, preventing discrimination and protecting
> Constitutional rights
> and freedoms will be the test I apply to these
> measures.
> Thank you for contacting me.
> -Brian Hatfield

Mind you, he was so "torn" that he sent an identical reply to everyone I know who wrote him in favor of this bill. Except me; he didn't reply to this:


Your constituent (name witheld) forwarded me your response to her inquiry about your stance on the domestic partnership bill.

You have always struck me as fair and reasonable. That's why I was shocked that you don't think that ensuring all Washingtonians have the most basic civil rights, that you take for granted as a heterosexual, are "what the state needs to be focusing on."

Yes, you voted against DOMA, and that was admirable.

But consider this: what if you were unable to visit your spouse in the hospital? Or unable to leave her your property in your will? Or unsure if she would be granted custody of your children in case something happened to you? None of these rights are guaranteed to unmarried and same-sex couples. It's not theoretical for them; it's harsh reality.

Furthermore, as same-sex couples aren't allowed to marry in the state of Washington, this legislation is the only vehicle they have to gain some of the few rights that you and I take for granted.

It is unjust, unfair and unconstitutional that anyone must live with these potentially life-changing uncertainties every day.

What reason would you possibly have for denying your constituents these rights?

I urge you to support any and all efforts toward more inclusive domestic partnership legislation.

Yours truly,

Jr. Woodchuckette (names may have been changed)

In the meantime, if you think he's ignoring a critical issue, let him know!

State Sen. Brian Hatfield
360-786-7806 phone
105 John L. O'Brien Building
Olympia, WA 98504-0600

1 comment:

leftcoastbob said...

He can't take the time to reply to you, as you aren't even a constituent--hell, he hardly even has time to reply to his own constituents as there are lots more important things to focus on than those whiney voters!

Here's my reply to that condescending canned email he sent:

Brian: I can certainly understand and appreciate that you have a strong commitment to focusing on "education, health care, job creation, etc..." but I do hope that you will not consider this very important bill a "complete waste of time." as the discrimination that it will make strides to correct, has been a terrible burden to a very large number of your constituents.

SB5336 is incredibly important, as it will put a halt to a huge injustice and will impact a much greater number of people's lives than some of the bills which you yourself have co-sponsored.

Such as:
SB 5033: "Recognizing women's suffrage day.";
SB 5113: "Authorizing the application of barley straw to waters of the state.";
SB 5253: "Creating a list of and decal for veteran-owned businesses.";
SB 5397: "Extending an asparagus exception to the standards for fruits and vegetables."

My point is not to denigrate the importance of barley straw and asparagus; my point is to let you know unequivocally that focusing on ending discrimination against a substantial voting bloc is very, very important.



I guess that he thought that I was casting aspersions on his asparagus-loving base, as here is his reply to that email:

The difference is, I haven't answered a single e-mail, hotline or phone call on any of the bills you listed. I'm spending a great deal of time today, answering very strongly worded PRO and CON messages on 5336.

Please understand, I take this issue VERY seriously, but it DOES take away from other issues. And by the way, the asparagus exception may not make any headlines, but it is THE MOST important bill of the 2007 session for some people.

Because I am keeping an open mind on this issue, I'm certain I'll be squeezed throughout the session and make BOTH sides of this issue angry because... ..."how dare I listen to all sides?"

Thanks again for contacting me.


I don't know about you, but I, personally, would have had a lot more respect for the little weasel if he would have just told me that he cared deeply about the bill and was weighing both sides of the issue, blah, blah, blah. But no--he has to let me know yet again that he has bigger fish to fry (or asparagus to steam, as the case may be) and that all these pesky constituents contacting him and then expecting him to reply is taking valuable time away from his very important job.

No wonder he likes asparagus people better--they don't call or email him about "THE MOST important bill of the 2007 session for some people."