Washington Democrats, Governor call on Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler to resign

Inslee Calls On Wa Insurance Commissioner To Resign
Ted S. Warren - staff, AP

FILE - Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler poses for a photo, on Feb. 8, 2017, in his office at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee is now among a growing number of people saying elected Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler should resign because of what employees describe as a hostile workplace.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington State Democratic Party and Governor Jay Inslee are calling on Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler (D) to resign.

The request comes after Kreidler fired an aide who had previously reported him for inappropriate behavior.

State Party Chair Tina Podlodowski and Vice-Chair David Green issued the following joint statement:

“We were deeply disappointed and troubled over the first set of complaints against Mike Kreidler earlier this year, and had hoped his apologies and training efforts were sincere and afforded him an opportunity to reform his actions and behaviors. But it is now abundantly clear: He learned nothing. Employees must be able to report wrongdoings without fear of retaliation. It’s a fundamental component of workers’ rights. To fire a whistleblower — someone who had the courage to step forward in the first place — is not only unacceptable and unethical, but directly goes against the Democratic values of our party, which is committed to protecting workers and creating safe working environments. Mike has lost the trust of his employees — and his party. He can no longer faithfully serve the people of Washington state, and we call for him to step down.”

The complaints against Kreidler were made public in February after a half a dozen state workers recounted his poor treatment of staff and use of racist slurs and derogatory language to The Seattle Times and Northwest News Network.

Gov. Jay Inslee also issued a statement regarding Kreidler’s misconduct:

“Following Commissioner Kreidler’s admission that he treated staff poorly and used inappropriate language in the office, he committed to learning and doing better. The events of the last several months demonstrate he is unable to fulfill his leadership responsibility. Commissioner Kreidler assured his employees and the public he would work to improve his relationship with staff, but instead he terminated an employee who spoke out about these issues. All staff deserve respect regardless of their at-will status. Therefore it’s my belief we need different leadership in this position and I believe he should resign. I want to recognize the robust work to protect consumers that the commissioner’s office has been leading on for many years. That work needs to continue and needs new leadership to do so.”

Kreidler responded to Inslee’s statement, saying he disagrees with it and will not be resigning.

You can read Kreidler’s response here.

READ: Inslee calls on WA insurance commissioner to resign