Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna lashed out at a constituent on Tuesday, telling the young woman to "go get a job" in response to a question about his support for reproductive rights legislation.
Kendra Obom approached McKenna, who is running for governor of Washington, as he was exiting a building and asked his position on the Reproductive Parity Act. The groundbreaking reproductive rights bill, which was killed in the state Senate, would have required that all insurance plans in the state that cover maternity care also cover abortions.
McKenna first tried to blow off her question, stating that as a lawyer for the state -- he is currently Washington's attorney general -- he wasn't allowed to comment. Then, apparently flustered, he went after Obom personally, asking her if she thought she was being honest and accusing her of trying to gain a political advantage.
Despite Obom identifying herself as a youth worker, McKenna ends his interaction by telling her "Why don't you go get a job?"
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Reproductive rights may soon become a wedge issue in Washington's competitive gubernatorial race.
Democrats quickly seized on McKenna's reaction, holding a press conference. McKenna released a statement expressing his opposition to the Reproductive Parity Act because it could theoretically endanger federal funds.
"I support our existing, voter-approved state law which guarantees women access to insurance coverage for reproductive healthcare," he said in a statement. "I do not support changing the law in a way that could put federal funding of women's healthcare at risk."
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee is a strong supporter of the first-in-the-nation bill.
"This is a matter of reaffirming our commitment to preserving choice for Washington women and ensuring Washington remains a state where all women are ensured full control of their family planning and health care," he said in an earlier statement on his website. "It's important we have a governor who will be willing to stand up for women's health, and not allow politics or ideology to take precedence over common sense and science."
A survey from Public Policy Polling in February had the two men in a dead heat, with 42 percent support each.