With the 2018 primary election coming up August 14 and early voting beginning June 29, the 2018 campaign season is moving into full speed. The crowded primary field for both the DFL and the Republican tickets will give voters an early chance to hear about each political parties’ values.
While some political elites are despairing the number of last-minute candidate filings, I am much more optimistic about this news.
With a competitive three-way contest in the DFL governor’s primary, there will be ample opportunities for our labor values to hit the airwaves and doors all summer.
And right now it sure feels like a lot of people could really use more leaders talking about a positive, hopeful future for all of us, which I believe the DFL candidates will do.
On the Republican primary side, leading gubernatorial candidate Tim Pawlenty has a proven track record of letting working families down. Not all Minnesota voters remember the defunding of our schools and the lack of investment we saw under his leadership. Tim Pawlenty’s message of division, take-backs and cut-backs for families will be well-manicured into appealing made-for-TV clips. We need to make sure working families see these messages for what they really are.
With an AFL-CIO endorsement in the governor’s race unlikely until after the August 14 primary, we at the MRLF will have ample time to do what we’ve promised our members we would do: talk to workers about their union and what’s happening in their local communities.
As families prepare for summer vacations, we’re continuing the work of our community action teams. We are talking to union voters and their families about the freedom to join in a union and what that means to them in communities across our jurisdiction. These door-to-door conversations are shaping our priorities for the time when our election work will ramp-up after the primary.
So far, we are finding union members eager to talk to fellow union volunteers about their experience in the workplace. Amazing stories are being revealed about how much a union really means for families, from emotional healthcare stories to inspiring recollections of experiencing housing stability for the first time.
One of our main takeaways from the 2016 election is that our union members need to really be heard. To do this work, we will need all of you this summer. Join one of our community action team doorknocks. If you’ve been out on the doors with us before, I assure you the work this year feels a bit different than it ever has before. For new folks, now is the best time to try talking to union members on the doors for the first time. You don’t need any special skills, just the ability to listen and share a hopeful future for our labor movement.
To volunteer, contact MRLF campaigns manager Casey Hudek at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-321-5671.
Chelsie Glaubitz Gabiou is president of the Minneapolis Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.