Tina Smith, Amy Klobuchar show how to make Washington work
|Tina Smith (right) addresses the Minnesota AFL-CIO convention September 22.
Adapted from the Minneapolis Labor Review, October 26, 2018
By Steve Share, Minneapolis Labor Review editor
MINNEAPOLIS — “We have an urgent choice in this election,” said U.S. Senator Tina Smith, addressing the Minnesota AFL-CIO convention September 22. “Are we going to put people or money first?”
Smith is running in a special election for the U.S. Senate seat which became vacant when Al Franken resigned January 2, 2018. Governor Mark Dayton appointed Smith, who was serving as his Lieutenant Governor, to fill the vacancy temporarily.
In her first run for elected office, Smith won the DFL primary election and now is running with the endorsement of both the Minnesota AFL-CIO and the DFL Party.
The special election for this race will be in conjunction with the November 6, 2018 general election.
Prior to running with Dayton four years ago to serve as Lieutenant Governor in Dayton’s second term, Smith served as Dayton’s chief-of-staff in his first term.
She served previously as chief-of-staff to Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak.
Following the lead of Minnesota’s senior U.S. Senator, Amy Klobuchar, Smith has worked in the U.S. Senate the past few months with a focus not on partisanship, but on getting things done.
“Minnesotans want Washington to work for them and get to work. They are tired of the negativity,” she told the Minnesota AFL-CIO convention.
“They don’t wake up and say, ‘hmm, I’m a Republican, I need to take my kid to school… They don’t wake up and say, ‘hmm, I’m a Democrat, I need to pay my mortgage.’” Smith asked: “Are we going to choose a path where we can come together? Or are we going to fuel this division that’s ripping us apart?”
For Smith, a focus on working families’ issues can bring people together. “Let’s move to a future where everybody has health care that they can afford,” she said. She also advocated for moving the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour and protecting pensions. “We’re working to support unions, the unions that build the middle class for all of us,” Smith added.
(By contrast, when Smith’s opponent, Karin Housely, was asked October 21 by KSTP-TV if she supported a $15 federal minimum wage, Housely answered flatly, “absolutely not.” Housely went on to say that she didn’t think the federal or state governments should even mandate a minimum wage and that it should be up to employers to set their own minimum wage).
U.S. Congress: more stark choices
The stark choices for working families on issues like health care in the 2018 elections include races for U.S. Congress in the Minneapolis area.
In the 5th Congressional District, Ilhan Omar is running with AFL-CIO endorsement to continue Keith Ellison’s legacy of progressive leadership (see story).
In the 2nd Congressional District, Angie Craig is running with AFL-CIO endorsement against incumbent Jason Lewis.
And in the 3rd Congressional District, Dean Philips is running with AFL-CIO endorsement against incumbent Erik Paulsen.
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