On Monday and Tuesday, the Milwaukee Area Labor Council's COPE Committee interviewed nearly 60 candidates running for office in the 2016 spring elections. We even had candidates that didn't believe that unions are good things for the community. It also flies in the face of the anti-union factions that keep trying to claim that unions aren't important anymore or don't have any power.
The recommendations from this committee were presented before the delegates of MALC, who voted to endorse the following candidates for the following races:
Milwaukee County Circuit Court 31 - Paul Rifelj
Milwaukee County Circuit Court 44 - Gwen Connolly
Milwaukee County Circuit Court 45 - Jean Kies
Milwaukee County Executive - Chris Larson
Milwaukee County Supervisor District 4 - Marina Dimitrijevic
Milwaukee County Supervisor District 5 - Marcelia Nicholson
Milwaukee County Supervisor District 7 - Michael Mayo
Milwaukee County Supervisor District 11 - Dual endorsement of Patricia Najera and Yaghnam Yaghnam
Milwaukee County Supervisor District 12 - Peggy Romo-West
Milwaukee County Supervisor District 14 - Jason Haas
Milwaukee County Supervisor District 16 - John Weishan
Milwaukee County Supervisor District 17 - Tony Staskunas
Milwaukee County Supervisor District 18 - Martha De La Rosa
City of Milwaukee Mayor - Tom Barrett
City of Milwaukee Treasurer - Spencer Coggs
City of Milwaukee Comptroller - Martin Matson
City of Milwaukee Aldermanic District 2 - Chevy Johnson
City of Milwaukee Aldermanic District 4 - Bob Bauman
City of Milwaukee Aldermanic District 6 - Milele Coggs
City of Milwaukee Aldermanic District 7 - Khalif Rainey
City of Milwaukee Aldermanic District 8 - Josh Zepnick
City of Milwaukee Aldermanic District 10 - Michael Murphy
City of Milwaukee Aldermanic District 11 - Tim Kenney
City of Milwaukee Aldermanic District 12 - Jose Perez
City of Milwaukee Aldermanic District 13 - Terry Witkowski
City of Milwaukee Aldermanic District 14 - Tony Zielinski
Congratulations to all the candidates who have earned these endorsements. A formal press release will be issued later today.
I plan on writing on some of these candidates as time allows.
For now, I just want to comment on the Milwaukee County Executive Race.
As I have written before, Chris Abele tried to pull his buy-partisanship routine to divide and conquer the unions and the Labor Council. This made for a very contentious week, with the building trades and the laborers unions coming out early in favor of Abele.
Fortunately, there are some things that all of the money in Abele's daddy's checkbook can't buy.
One of those things is solidarity.
At the meeting, there was a strong show of solidarity between many of the unions - including AFSCME, ATU (the bus drivers), AFT (MATC teachers), the Steelworkers, the Ironworkers, and many others to say that we stand united against the tyranny of Chris Abele and in support of State Senator Chris Larson. We recognized that harm to one is harm to all, and in Abele's case, it was harm to most anyway.
I want to make special mention of gratitude and solidarity with the Ironworkers, who put themselves out there by making a stand with Larson. Being part of the building trades, they normally would have stood with Abele, but they recognized the harm that Abele has done to the other unions and that they could not trust Abele not to do the same to them if he were to be elected again. It was an courageous and difficult decision for them to make, and I want them to know I appreciate them for it.
The decision was made easier by looking at the track records of the two.
When Act 10 was being revealed, Larson led his fellow state senators on a weeks-long self-exile to give Labor the chance to organize and start fighting back. Abele, on the other hand, praised Act 10.
When it came to living wages, Larson has always been a strong advocate of it. Abele vetoed the bill when it came across his desk. Even worse, he spent lots of money to lobby for living wage laws across the state to be wiped out.
Larson has stood with the teachers against Abele's takeover with MPS. Likewise, Larson stood with the bus drivers and mechanics even has Abele tried to bust their union and refused to bargain in good faith with them.
The list goes on and on.
I don't always agree with Larson's decisions, but that is part of life.
What I can agree on is that Larson would make an exponentially better than the Scott Walker doppleganger Abele. You can support Larson via his campaign website.