Oregon AFL-CIO issues endorsements statewide for May 18 primary election

The Oregon AFL-CIO’s Committee on Political Education (COPE) met March 26 in Portland to endorse candidates for statewide positions and the Legislature in the May 18 mail ballot primary election.

For the most part, only contested primary races were considered, although there were a few exceptions.

Fourth District Congressman Peter DeFazio, for instance, was endorsed not only for the primary but for the general election as well. DeFazio is one of labor’s strongest voices in the U.S. House of Representatives. During eight terms in Congress the fiery and outspoken Democrat from Springfield has compiled a 97 percent COPE voting record as tracked by the national AFL-CIO. During the 2003 congressional session he scored a perfect 100 percent COPE record.

Also receiving endorsements in uncontested primaries were Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, 1st District Congressman David Wu, and Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers. All are Democratic incumbents.

In contested primaries, the AFL-CIO endorsed incumbent U.S. Representatives Earl Blumenauer in the 3rd District and Darlene Hooley in the 5th District. Both are Democrats.

In statewide races, COPE backed Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, Supreme Court Judge Rives Kistler and Appellate Court Judge Robert Wollheim.

Eight legislators seeking re-election received automatic endorsements on the basis of 100 percent COPE voting records in the 2002 session. They were State Senator Ginny Burdick, D-Dist. 18, and State Representatives Phil Barnhart, D-Dist. 11; Kelley Wirth, D-Dist. 16; Mitch Greenlick, D-Dist. 33; Carolyn Tomei, D-Dist. 41; Diane Rosenbaum, D-Dist. 42; Steve March, D-Dist. 46, and Jeff Merkley, D-Dist. 47.

In contested primary races, the state labor federation endorsed Democrats Judy Uherbelau, who is running in House District 5; Paul Holvey, a member of the Carpenters Union who recently was appointed to fill the unexpired term of Floyd Prozanski in House District 8; Mark Hass, the incumbent in House District 27; Chuck Riley, a challenger in House District 29; Chip Shields, who is vying for an open seat in House District 43; and Kathryn Firestone, a challenger in House District 51.

In uncontested primaries, COPE endorsed Democrats Bruce Cronk, a member of the Steelworkers Union, in Senate District 1; Larry Galizio, a member of the American Federation of Teachers, in House District 35; and Mike Schaufler, a former member of the Laborers Union, in District 48.

COPE issued a “no endorsement” (meaning the AFL-CIO will actively oppose) to Betsy Close, an Albany Republican who is leaving the House to run for secretary of state.

Candidates seeking labor’s endorsement were required to complete an eight-page questionnaire outlining their positions on various issues such as prevailing wage, right-to-work and minimum wage laws. They also were asked to sign a pledge supporting a “statement of principles” that all workers be entitled to freedom of association, including the right to form a union without interference or coercion from employers.

In signing the pledge, candidates vowed to publicly support workers engaged in organizing campaigns and to encourage employers to stay neutral during such activity.

With the exception of the judges, each of the endorsed candidates listed above signed the pledge.

An endorsement required a two-thirds majority vote.

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