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Minnesota AFL-CIO endorses Walz for Governor

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, August 24, 2018

Primary election night victory party at the Carpenters union hall in St. Paul: Tim Walz, candidate for Governor (left), addressed supporters with his Lt. Governor running mate, Peggy Flanagan (right).

By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor

SAINT PAUL — The general board of the Minnesota AFL-CIO voted August 16 to endorse Tim Walz for Governor of Minnesota and Peggy Flanagan for Lieutenant Governor.

The vote came two days after the Walz-Flanagan ticket won the DFL Party’s primary election contest August 14.

In a three-way race, Walz polled 41.60 percent of the vote. State Representative Erin Murphy came in second with 32.03 percent, followed by Attorney General Lori Swanson with 24.59 percent.

Walz ran in the DFL primary with the support of his own union — Education Minnesota — plus the Building Trades, and others.

Murphy had been endorsed by AFSCME, the Minnesota Nurses Association, and SEIU. By the end of the primary election week, however, all three unions backing Murphy voted their endorsement for Walz.

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.

Speaking to supporters at a 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.

“What people in Minnesota were hungry for was that common vision that binds us together as Minnesota,” Walz told the crowd. “That spirit is alive from Rondo to the Range.”

“You came to this campaign because you believe that there is more that unites us than divides us,” Walz said. “Enough of the division. It’s time for one Minnesota.”

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 voting record from the national AFL-CIO on working families issues during his six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Tim Walz knows that his victory goes through the union hall,” commented Ray Zeran, political director for IBEW Local 292, who was attending the primary night celebration.

“The people whose hands get dirty and make middle class livings have a voice today,” said Tristan Lundblad, organizer for Roofers Local 96, also at the Walz primary night event. With Walz as Governor, Lundblad said, “we will continue to succeed in Minnesota’s economy.”

Two days after the primary, Walz spoke August 16 to the Minnesota AFL-CIO’s general board meeting at the IBEW Local 110 hall. “I’ve made it clear from the beginning… that we were going to put labor and the idea of working women and men at the center of everything we did,” Walz said. “That message resonated Tuesday night.”

“We’re not going to be back on our heels,” Walz promised. We’re going to lean in to aggressive policies that strengthen everything you’re doing.”

“We’re ready to outwork people. We’re ready to take our message to every corner. We’re ready to grow the labor movement,” Walz said.

He added: “It is time to have an organizer-in-chief sitting in the Governor’s office — and that’s exactly what we’ll do.”

The AFL-CIO general board voted its unanimous endorsement for Walz. After the vote, he went around the room and shook everyone’s hand.

In a statement for the media, Minnesota AFL-CIO president Bill McCarthy said, “Minnesota’s labor movement stands united around Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan because they have always stood with working people and will carry that commitment to the Governor’s office… As a 20-year educator and union member, Tim Walz understands first-hand the importance of protecting working people’s freedom to join together in union to negotiate a fair return on their work.”

The Minnesota AFL-CIO’s general board also took up endorsements in three other races where the state federation had not endorsed prior to the primary.

The board awarded the AFL-CIO endorsement to Keith Ellison for Minnesota Attorney General, Ilhan Omar for 5th District U.S. Congress, and Joe Radinovich for 8th District U.S. Congress.

The Minnesota AFL-CIO endorsed Tim Walz for Governor two days after his primary election win. Left to right: Bobby Kasper, president of St. Paul Regional Labor Federation; Bill McCarthy, president of Minnesota AFL-CIO; Tim Walz; Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou, president of Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation.


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