Richard Louis Brown, the newly elected leader of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 1000 in California, is calling out Gavin Newsom over the Democratic governor’s decision to close a rural prison, saying he’s “lost his mind” in an attack against “conservatives.”
After raising eyebrows earlier in the year with a promise to cut union political donations, Brown on Friday told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto that he believes Newsom is specifically going after workers in Lassen County because the region, situation slightly northwest of Reno-Sparks, Nev., is a heavy GOP district, with 76 percent of the county’s voters casting ballots for Donald Trump in 2016, the highest percentage across the Golden State.
“I believe in the power of voting and in this election for Local-1000, 2,637 people said Richard Louis Brown, fight for us,” Brown told Cavuto. “And my first fight is to make sure that our employees of all the public sector unions at the prison up there in Lassen County are protected and they don’t lose their job through no fault of their own.”
He went on to speculate that Newsom is only closing the prison for political reasons.
(Video: Fox News)
“The only reason this governor’s closing that prison down, because he is attacking small towns, he’s attacking people and their families because these people in Lassen County have conservative values that he disagrees with – and so he is mad – and since he is mad he wants to close their lives down, he wants to destroy them,” Brown continued.
The SEIU chief went on to say that he has no plans to “sit here in the state of California and take this” from the governor, who is already facing a recall election this fall.
Earlier, the host referred to Brown as an “anomaly” in terms of being a union boss because he wants to reduce the political nature of the job and of unions, in general, to focus more on their primary mission — fighting for members and workers. And part of how he seeks to do that is by cutting membership dues.
“I’m really happy to be on Fox,” Brown said. “A lot of people have different opinions about me but let me be crystal clear, everything I say is what I mean and I praise God every day that I live in the greatest country on Earth, and I’m fighting for the people in Lassen County.”
He added of Newsom: “This governor has lost his mind.”
Continuing with the interview, Brown noted that the prison targeted by Newsom is “number one” in the state, has always “run in the black” in terms of finances and has not experienced any major difficulties in a state that, historically, has a reputation for some of the foulest, most brutal penitentiaries. He went on to say that he can’t think of any good reason for Newsom to shutter the Lassen County facility and that it appears to be an act of spite or political retribution.
Brown said in the past inmates at the institution have been called upon to assist local officials and residents in fighting wildfires in the area. Two — the Dotta Fire and the Sugar Fire — are burning currently in areas to the prison’s southwest in neighboring Plumas County.
The SEIU boss had some advice for other union chiefs in his state.
“I would tell the unions across the state of California [to] wake up: Wake up, do your job, fight for your people and stop playing these political games. That is what I would tell unions across California,” he added.
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