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MN-08: Former AFL-CIO President David Roe Endorses Rick Nolan for Congress

by keewatinrose on March 17, 2012 · 13 comments

As thousands of Minnesota workers descended on the state capitol this week in protest of the so called right-to-work legislation proposed by union busting right wing extremists, the longest serving president of the Minnesota AFL-CIO in history issued a resounding endorsement for a DFL candidate in the 8th congressional district race in northeastern Minnesota.

In a powerful letter clearly directed at organized labor, former AFL-CIO President David Roe announced his personal support of former Congressman Rick Nolan and urged his union Brothers and Sisters to follow suit:

Today, I am writing to proudly announce my personal endorsement for Congress in Minnesota’s 8th District.

With all my heart, that support goes to one of the greatest leaders and champions Organized Labor and working families have ever had – my friend and ally in the trenches, Rick Nolan.

As president of the Minnesota AFL-CIO, I saw lots of politicians pull out their Labor talking points, say the right things, and vote with us when it was easy. But when we really needed them to stand up and be counted, they’d disappear under the nearest rock.

We have enough politicians like that in Washington. In times like these, working families don’t need another fair weather friend, or someone who’ll need on the job training in order to be effective years from now.  We need an 8th District Congressman who can hit the ground running in January 2013 with the earned respect of Democrats and Republicans alike.

In Rick Nolan, we have the rare opportunity to elect a former Teamster who will re-enter the U.S. House of Representatives with four terms of seniority.  If Democrats re-take the House, he could well be named chairman of a powerful subcommittee, ready to start getting things done for working families on Day One.

A real son of the 8th, Rick has the energy and determination to lead the fight for the Employee Free Choice Act, for pension protection, for single payer universal health care, and for an end to the right wing war on workers that includes ‘right to work for less.’
 Rick will lead the battle to repeal the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires and make those of us in the 99% matter again!

Make no mistake.  This campaign won’t be easy.  The right wing is ready to come after us with everything they’ve got.  But with our help, Rick Nolan WILL win back the 8th District for everyone who has suffered and struggled under Chip Cravaack and his ‘war on worker’ buddies.

But don’t take just my word for it. Ask the Labor leaders and Unions who have already endorsed Rick.  Teamsters Joint Council 32, representing more than 60,000 workers across the 8th District and the Upper Midwest.   The 12,000 member United Food and Commercial Workers Union. The 700 member Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 11. The elected leaders of several Local Unions and the leaders of all General Labor Councils in northern Minnesota.  Along with dozens of current and former political, community and business leaders who support Rick. 


Now, will you join me in supporting our friend, Rick Nolan, for 8th District Congress?  And, if you can manage it, can you please dig into your pocket and contribute $5, $10, $25 or whatever you can afford to help Rick make working families matter again in Washington?  Do it for you, for your family, and for your neighbors.

Because You Matter, and In Solidarity,


Buck Compton March 17, 2012 at 9:35 am

This is truly shaping up to be a battle for the future of the democratic party in CD8.  While Jeff Anderson earns the support of the party’s present and future, Rick Nolan keeps trotting out old battle axes like this one in an effort to prolong the aging power structure. If this party doesn’t figure out soon that it is essential to bring in young leaders, soon they will find they have no leaders at all.  Bully to Nolan for using the situation to get what he wants, even of it means he is destroying the future.  

outstate March 17, 2012 at 10:32 am

Buck, seriously what you say is nothing but spin and doesn’t serve your candidate well. Both Rick and Jeff appear to be very good candidates and have garnered various endorsements. Let the candidates run on their merits. Negativity serves no one well. Dan Fanning, Kerry Gauthier, Ryan Winkler, among other younger activists/legislators are hardly “old battle axes” and they are supporting Nolan. Jeff also has endorsements from all age groups, but I would never disparage their support because they are “old battle axes” or too young.  

Joel in Duluth March 20, 2012 at 7:12 am

The generational issue is legitimate.  Jeff has the potential to bring new and younger people into the party.  Rick Nolan has the experience to know how to win and to get things done in Congress.  Both candidates have been making these arguments, and they are wholly legitimate.  In fact, on caucus night I made the generational argument for Jeff.

The argument can be made, however, without going ballistic on the opponent.  If Rick Nolan is the candidate, it does not mean we’ve written off the future.  And if Jeff is the candidate, it doesn’t mean we will lack an effective voice in Washington.  The two have complimentary strengths, and each is playing to their strengths– but it doesn’t mean that the world will come to an end if the other wins.  At my caucus, the general sentiment was that Jeff Anderson and Rick Nolan are both good candidates who are worthy of respect.  The only difference is how people ranked them relative to each other.

We will need to unite after the convention, so please let’s try to keep all this in perspective.

Buck Compton March 17, 2012 at 7:07 pm

Let’s put the cards on the table and let the people decide. On the day they would be sworn in, Jeff will be 35 and Rick will be 70.

That isn’t spin. It’s life.

We can elect a politician who has been a great public servant, but whose best years are likely behind him, or we can pick a rising star from the party who will help bring new energy and voters into the process.

I have nothing but respect for Rick Nolan and all that he has accomplished. But when it comes to the future of the democratic party in the Eighth, I know that Jeff is the candidate we need to bridge the gap between the past and the future.

If Rick were a true statesman, he would step aside and endorse Jeff for just this reason. The fact that he’s showing no regard for what would happen should he happen to win, and then retire (again) in a term or two speaks volumes about his level of interest in the future of the CD8 DFL

Bill Prendergast March 17, 2012 at 11:56 pm

…you’re contradicting yourself, right in the same comment.

Out of one side of his mouth, Buck says:
Nolan has been “a great public servant” and “I have nothing but respect for Rick Nolan and all that he has accomplished”

…out of the other side of his mouth, Buck says:
Rick Nolan is not a true statesman unless he “steps aside and endorses Jeff,” Nolan’s “showing no regard for what would happen should he happen to win,” Nolan’s “best years are likely behind him…”

So which Buck is talking here? The one who has “nothing but respect for Rick Nolan and all he has accomplished” or the Buck who tells us Nolan has no regard for the future and “is not a true statesman” unless he does what Buck wants him to do?

I don’t think it helps Jeff to have you here representing his candidacy in just this way, Buck. You say that you “have nothing but respect for Rick Nolan” and in the same comment accuse him being too old and irresponsible?

Buck Compton March 18, 2012 at 3:48 am

So, I can’t respect a person and also think their best years are behind them? If Rick really thinks the party should unify, why should they unify behind him, knowing that in two to four years they will have to start the process all over? If they want to bring young people into the process, forcing a 70 year old who hasn’t been in office for 30 years is not the best route. And when he trots out endorsements like this, it further alienates the young people who have never heard of either of them.  

JML March 19, 2012 at 5:45 am

Jeff could step aside and play statesman and endorse Nolan, since Rick Nolan had more support in the straw poll than Anderson & Clark combined.

Yeah, don’t see that happening either. But it illustrates the ridiculousness of Buck’s statement. Rick Nolan is the front runner right now, but Buck thinks he should step aside and endorse his candidate for the good of the party?

This is another nice endorsement from a Labor leader for Nolan. He’s building a lot of support from a lot of different areas. It’s one of the reasons Clark is out of the race for endorsement.

I don’t think people will care about Rick’s age. Based on energy and enthusiasm for the district, I’d peg his effective age as much much younger. It comes through.

Buck Compton March 19, 2012 at 8:40 am

My argument has always been that Rick is a good candidate, and given the chance, he likely would beat Rep. Cravaack. But just because you CAN do something doesn’t always mean you SHOULD do it. Do we really want to start from scratch in two to four years when Rick retires (again)? Anderson is just as likely to beat Cravaack, and has the added benefit of giving the district an influx of younger participants and a congressman who is more than just a short term seat filler.  

Dan March 18, 2012 at 9:28 am

was the head of Minnesota AFL CIO from 1967 to 1990.  Ouch.

TwoPuttTommy March 18, 2012 at 10:40 pm

…is to beat New Hampshire’s Newest Son — Chip.

To me, the best way to do that is to have the candidate with the best chance of winning on the ballot.

And if the candidate with the best chance is an elder gentleman, so be it.

If Nolan is on the ballot, the CD is definitely in play and when he wins, it’s a safe seat for a long time – because Nolan’s replacement will have plenty of time to get ready for when Nolan steps down.

Of course, with New Hampshire’s Newest Son filling the “R” side of the ballot, there is the argument the seat’s in play no matter who we have running against him.

The point I’m trying to make is Nolan is emminetly electable and his age has nothing to do with said electability.

That said, this is not an endorsement – merely an observation.

Buck Compton March 19, 2012 at 1:23 am

Rick Nolan, should he survive the primary, will likely beat New Hampshire’s newest resident. So will Jeff Anderson.  Only Tarryl Clark lacks the support to win in November.

So if it’s all the same, do we want a candidate who will serve two terms and then leave the seat wide open again, or do we want the candidate who can bring younger voters into the process and stick it out for the time needed to get back into power? Clinging to the past may be the easier route for the short term, but for the future of the party, Jeff Anderson is the right choice.  

outstate March 19, 2012 at 10:50 am

 How about some numbers? Conventions have been held over the last couple of weeks in the 8th and it’s nothing but silence from all three campaigns. Does anybody have any legit numbers?
Is it a three-way tie?

Joel in Duluth March 20, 2012 at 7:15 am

My convention (SD 7) is this Saturday.  I’ll post the results as soon as I get home.  The results from SD 7 should tell us a lot.  It is Jeff Anderson’s home turf.  If Jeff wins by a lot, it means his support is holding firm and he remains competitive.  If it is close, it means Nolan has some serious momenetum.

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