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Lamont Gets Key Union Endorsement | The Nation

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Lamont Gets Key Union Endorsement

Last Friday, I predicted that AFSCME'S Council 4--Connecticut's largest AFL-CIO union--would endorse Ned Lamont for the US Senate. While the union backed Lieberman in the primary, its delegates now realize that "it boiled down to a simple question: Which candidate will stand up to George Bush and Dick Cheney." Not a tough choice considering Lieberman, on the stump and at a recent speech at Fairfield University on Friday, sounded an awful lot like the White House and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld.

AFSCME'S delegates were also critical of Lieberman's "lackluster at best" support for the three Democratic candidates challenging Republican incumbents in the state. Those races--and others in the Northeast--are critical if Democrats are to take back the House.

AFSCME's Council 4 represents more than 35,000 state and federal employees. For more on this crucial labor endorsement, read the press release the union issued this morning:

"Since the August 8th primary, we paid close attention to the remarks of both men," said Sal Luciano, executive director of Council 4. "We saw Lieberman moving closer and closer to Bush while Ned Lamont held firm in his strong opposition to the direction Bush is taking us." "In the end, our delegates realized that it boiled down to a simple question: Which candidate will stand up to George Bush and Dick Cheney," Luciano said. "That candidate is Ned Lamont and only Ned Lamont."

"The Bush administration is driving this country into a ditch," Luciano said. "We're spending $250 million a day on the war in Iraq while doling out billions of dollars in corporate welfare and tax breaks for the rich. That's money we should invest in education, healthcare and job creation. And that's why we're supporting Ned Lamont."

"With nearly 400,000 Connecticut citizens going uninsured, our state is facing a serious health care crisis," said Luciano. "Ned Lamont supports universal health care that will provide high quality health care for all."

"Connecticut is losing good-paying jobs at an alarming rate," Luciano continued. "We need real leaders in Washington to fix our flawed trade and tax policies. Ned Lamont will be that kind of leader."

"Endorsing Mr. Lamont was not an easy decision in light of Joe Lieberman's distinguished years of public service," Luciano finished. "Over the years Joe was with us much more that he was against us, but his positions since the primary have not been good. The delegates unanimously endorsed Courtney, Farrell and Murphy," referring to the three challengers to Connecticut's Republican Incumbent Congressmen, "and Mr. Lieberman's support of them has been lackluster at best.Connecticut citizens are fed up with business-as-usual politics in Washington, and Joe just wouldn't listen."

As I wrote last Friday, AFSCME's size and power inside the AFL will make a difference in this race.

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