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Labor 2012

Laurie McKendry: Brings a business background and social justice values

From the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 26, 2012

By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor

MINNETONKA — “My message at the door is: ‘I’m a Democrat-
endorsed candidate, I have a business background and I’m running against a  Tea Party candidate — will you support me?” That’s the no-nonsense approach of Laurie McKendry, running for Minnesota Senate District 48 in Eden Prairie and Minnetonka.

McKendry is endorsed by the Minnesota AFL-CIO.

“I’m not a career politician. People resonate with that,” says McKendry, a 20-year Minnetonka resident with two college-age children.

As a first-time candidate, McKendry has been doorknocking six days a week and, more recently, seven days a week: “That’s how I’ve learned where people are at, what’s on their minds.”

She reports: “The number one thing is they are so tired of the gridlock and the fighting and the ‘my way or the highway’” stance of the Republican majority in the legislature.

One Republican leader in the Senate is David Hann, the three-term incumbent McKendry aims to defeat.

“My district is not extreme and David Hann is an extreme Tea Party incumbent,” she says. “Look at his record.”

In the 2012 legislature, Hann earned a score of zero from the Minnesota AFL-CIO, voting against working families for each of 17 tracked votes.

Unlike Hann, McKendry is a strong supporter of the Southwest Corridor Light Rail Transit project, with a potential 60,000 jobs coming to the district, including construction jobs.

“My message is people aren’t looking for a hand-out — they’re looking for a hand up,” McKendry says. “I know. I’ve been there.”

McKendry was raised by a single mom with only a GED education. “She was a waitress most of my life.”

McKendry was on a path to follow in her mother’s footsteps, dropping out of high school. But then McKendry earned her GED and worked as a bank teller. Next, she found an entry-level job in the telecom industry, worked her way up into sales, and went on to found her own telecom company. As an adult, McKendry went back to school and earned a college degree at the University of St. Catherine.

McKendry learned the importance of unions, she relates, when her mom, then working at a union restaurant, was fired in a dispute with management. “She got her job back because of the union,” McKendry recalls.

McKendry’s uncle, Len Hansen, was a longtime leader of Laborers Local 132. “We always went to the union picnics,” McKendry recalls, “because union was family.”

Laurie McKendry website:



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