UPDATED 7:45 p.m. with Koster response:
Missouri’s three-term lieutenant governor, Peter Kinder, issued a debate challenge Monday to Gov. Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster on the anti-union right-to-work bill that Nixon recently vetoed.
The Republican-led General Assembly is considering an override of Nixon’s veto, although most insiders think the veto will stand.
Kinder, a Republican who may run for governor himself in 2016, said Missouri stands at a disadvantage because six neighboring states have adopted the legislation.
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“I believe right to work will help Missouri attract and retain the family-supporting jobs we need for our state to thrive,” Kinder said. “All too often, jobs that could have gone to Missouri instead wind up going to one of these six other states simply because we lack one law they have – right to work.”
Kinder said right to work is, at its core, about fairness. “If a worker in our state does not want to pay union fees, they should not be required to do so just to get or keep a job,” he said. “Let the unions prove their worth and workers will gladly pay for membership.”
Koster has said he supports Nixon’s veto. Nixon and Koster are both Democrats.
“I am ready and willing to defend my support of right to work,” Kinder said. “Will Governor Nixon or Attorney General Chris Koster do the same? Missourians have a right to hear arguments for both sides of this important issue.”
Responded Koster spokesman Andrew Whalen:
“As usual, Peter Kinder has taken conservatism to an extreme. His views on right to work are well to the right of the majority of Missourians. The protection of Missouri’s workforce will be thoroughly discussed in the months ahead, but today’s invitation appears designed for publicity not policy.”