Wednesday, October 7, 2015

PA lawmaker compares unions to Hitler, Putin

Just a little over a month after Senate Republican from York County is under fire for comparing unions to Hitler.

PA lawmaker compares unions to Hitler, Putin



Just a little over a month after Senate Republican from York County is under fire for comparing unions to Hitler.

Scott Wagner, speaking on the Senate floor this week, likened organized labor to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Adolf Hitler, saying they are all about "power and control." 

But Wagner, who defeated a sitting House lawmaker to win the seat in a special election in April, told the Associated Press he wasn't comparing unions to Hitler or Putin/

Rathe, he said, he was using examples of dictators and other political strongmen through history to illustrate the use of "power and control."  

"I'm not comparing the unions to Hitler and I'm not comparing them to Putin," an unapologetic Wagner said. "I'm talking about the concept of power and control. ... I didn't say the unions are out killing people."

The comments came during a floor debate on a bill Wagner, who owns a trash hauling company, supports that would halt the practice of automatically deducting state worker union dues from members'  paychecks.

Here's what Wagner said:

"The unions are about power and control. And there are two things that I continue to remember about power and control. There was a gentleman by the name of Hitler, he was about power and control. There's a gentleman by the name of Putin, who's across the ocean, that's about power and control."

The head of the largest teachers' union struck back, calling the language "shocking and offensive."

"This kind of language is shocking, offensive and has no place in public discourse," said Pennsylvania State Education Association president Mike Crossey in a statement. "It is so disappointing to see a powerful elected official making such an awful comparison. What a terrible example this sets for our children."

Senate Democrats swiftly denounced the remarks, but no one has yet called for an official reprimand. The always colorful Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery) tweeted his thoughts last night:

PA Sen says unions are like "Hitler & Putin". To be more bat-s--- crazy you'd have to fill your nostrils w/ cement.



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Commonwealth Confidential gives you regularly updated coverage of the state legislature, the governor and the workings of the state bureaucracy. It is written by Angela Couloumbis in the Inquirer's Harrisburg bureau, based in the statehouse, and by the newspaper's far-flung campaign reporters.

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