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Tim Walz pledges to be
‘organizer-in-chief’ as Governor

Tim Walz

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 26, 2018

By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor

SAINT PAUL — For the state’s union members, no race on the 2018 ballot is more important than the race for Minnesota Governor. Governor Mark Dayton is not seeking re-election and who serves next in the Governor’s office could well determine whether or not Minnesota continues to support workers’ freedom to join unions or follows its neighbors in becoming a so-called “right to work” state, where worker rights have been curtailed and where wages lag behind Minnesota wages.

Following the August primary election, the Minnesota AFL-CIO and affiliated unions have joined enthusiastically in supporting Tim Walz for Governor.

Walz has served six terms in the U.S. House representing Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District. He is a former high school teacher —and Education Minnesota union member— and served 24 years in the Army National Guard.

At his primary election night victory party at the Carpenters union hall in Saint Paul, Walz offered his thanks and said: “To my brothers and sisters in Labor, I’m Labor, we’re Labor, Minnesota is Labor.” The crowd roared approval.

Walz continued: “This veteran walks proudly in my progressive values. This teacher stands up to bullies. This coach builds championship teams. This Governor won’t back down.”

As of 2017, Walz had earned a 93 percent lifetime voting record from the national AFL-CIO on working families issues during his six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

When the Minnesota AFL-CIO general board voted its unanimous endorsement for Walz after the August primary election, Walz said: “It is time to have an organizer-in-chief sitting in the Governor’s office — and that’s exactly what we’ll do.”

In stark contrast, Walz’s Republican opponent — Hennepin County Commissioner Jeff Johnson — famously asserted his plan “to go all Scott Walker on Minnesota” when running for Governor four years ago. Republican Walker, elected Wisconsin’s Governor in 2010, led an assault on workers’ freedom to join unions.

Compared to Minnesota under Dayton’s leadership, Wisconsin’s economic performance under Walker has lagged far behind (see walzorwisconsin.org).

In the fall campaign, Walz has continued to emphasize his theme of “One Minnesota.” At a final October 21 debate with Johnson, Walz spoke out against using fear to divide Minnesotans and said, “when we come together as one Minnesota, there’s no challenge we can’t overcome.”

Other statewide offices

Speaking at a October 19 event at the United Labor Centre, former Minnesota AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Julie Blaha — now running for State Auditor — reminded everyone that there are three other statewide constitutional offices on the November 6 ballot: State Auditor, Attorney General, and Secretary of State. The way to think about these offices, Blaha said, is “we are ‘Truth, Justice and the American Way.’”

“Truth” — the State Auditor’s office, which audits local government finances.

“Justice” — the Attorney General’s office, protecting workers and consumers.

“The American Way” — the Secretary of State’s office, which oversees Minnesota’s voting system.

Keith Ellison is the Minnesota AFL-CIO’s endorsed candidate for Attorney General (see story).

Steve Simon is the Minnesota AFL-CIO’s endorsed candidate for Secretary of State. He is seeking re-election for a second term. Under his leadership to promote early voting, Minnesota once again leads the nation in voter turn-out.

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