Woolsey retirement another loss

With the news of Rep. Lynn Woolsey’s (D-CA) impending retirement next year, I can’t help but think this is another loss for worker safety advocates.

Sens. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Robert Byrd (D-WV) passed away in recent years, and both senators were staunch advocates for worker safety who pushed for new regulation to create a safer working environment and hold unscrupulous employers accountable.

Woolsey has been pushing for a much-needed overhaul of the 40-year-old Occupational Safety and Health Act, but given the polarization between Republicans and Democrats today, I doubt she’ll see it enacted into law while she serves in Congress.

Other safety advocates still remain, of course, such as Rep. George Miller (D-CA) and Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV). But they could be considered an “older guard” – Miller and Rockefeller each have been in Washington for more than 25 years.

I’m curious to see in the coming years which representatives with less seniority step up to the plate for worker safety, what new ideas they may bring and whether or not they’ll be able to bridge the partisan gap that has recently stalled efforts to improve safety laws.

The opinions expressed in "Washington Wire" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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