The local AFL-CIO Endorsement Process 1999

This is the only passage in the MMM letter which may be inaccurate. Gary Krause may have a legitimate gripe for being accused of preventing me from being screened by the AFL-CIO. I doubt that I'll ever know what really happened.

I've been screened by the AFL-CIO on many previous occasions starting in 1976 when I ran for the State legislature against Mike Jaros. This year I kept waiting for the traditional letter inviting me to a screening even though I knew I wouldn't get the endorsement. Its a matter of principle.

            A Matter of Principle. Although these screenings are usually a mere formality with a predetermined conclusion they serve an important symbolic function. They are held to suggest that everyone interviewed was given an honest chance to make their case. By endorsing my opponent without giving me a chance to state my case there was no pretense of fair play. It was a blunt admission of the back room deal it was.

         My Dad was the president of a union local. He had a high regard for the rights of labor and fully appreciated management's ability to abuse its power.  Many candidates shun groups which won't endorse them because they are afraid of walking into the Lion's den. It was a point of principle for me to ask for union endorsement. If I had not been willing to interview before them they would have been right to view me as unfriendly. They probably would have commented on my absence in a press release to suggest that I didn't care about workers.

Its not surprising that I've come to be viewed as anti-union. I detest bullies. I was elected to shepherd public education for our children's sake. Notwithstanding their rhetoric union interests don't always coincide with the interests of children. The union leaders are adept at using pressure tactics and bullying. My resistance to this bullying has been the source for most of the criticism leveled at me as a school board member. One exunion official wrote me a letter once saying that the nine members of the School Board acted like a
"mob." I wrote him back diplomatically and suggested that there had been more potential for a "mob" when 300 angry teachers showed up at one of our School Board meetings.

So, at the AFSCME screening I mentioned my disappointment at not being interviewed by the AFL-CIO to Al Netland who is the President of both organizations. I was surprised by Al Netland's explanation. Al's explanation ended up in the Mary Mary Mars letter because I told that Committee's Chairman, Bob Heimbach.

I also wrote a letter to the Budgeteer criticizing the endorsement process, however, that paper edited out the portion concerning Gary Krause.

Naturally the Third District candidate, Gary Krause, took exception to being criticized for keeping me out of the screening. Gary said it hadn't been his idea and Al Netland backed him up when the News Tribune wrote the story about the brouhaha.

Since I was not at the AFL-CIO screening I have no idea what took place. I just know that I told Bob Heimbach what Al Netland told me: that Gary Krause suggested they not bother having a later screening for district candidates but go ahead and endorse the candidates they had already agreed upon.

If Gary Krause played no part in closing the screening to me he has every right to be angry about the story I helped spread. No one likes to have their fairness questioned. For my part I do not regret passing on what Al Netland told me. I reported it in good faith.

In the future I will be more careful when I quote Al. (He nearly got the Tribune sued by the former school superintendent when he erroneously reported that the Edison Corporation had hired Mr. Myles.  From now on when I quote Mr. Netland I'll say, "for what its worth."