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Congressman Charlie Dent defeats labor supported John Callahan


NOVEMBER 2010, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Congressman Charlie Dent defeats labor supported John Callahan


LEHIGH VALLEY, November 5th- Incumbent House of Representative Charlie Dent (Republican-15th Legislative District) defeated Bethlehem Democratic Mayor John Callahan and Independent candidate Jake Towne on November 2nd and will begin a fourth two-year term in Washington, DC in Janaury.

According to unofficial election results, Mr. Dent defeated Mr. Callahan by more than 14 percentage points and Mr. Towne by 37 percentage points.

The Republican party has won the right to represent the Lehigh Valley in the nation’s capitol in the last seven elections. Republican candidate for the United States Senate Pat Toomey defeated the labor supported Democratic nominee Joe Sestak on election day and will represent Pennsylvania in Washington beginning in January. Mr. Toomey held the 15th Legislative seat for three terms before Mr. Dent.

Mr. Callahan received the endorsement of the Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in Harrisburg after he submitted the labor federation’s election questionnaire. Mr. Callahan stated on the questionnaire, if elected he would support the labor community.

The newspaper attempted to interview Mr. Callahan during the campaign, however, he did not respond to our numerous request and his campaign staff was unco-operative leading-up to November 2nd.

Mr. Dent’s labor voting record has decreased each term since first being elected. During his first two-year term in Washington, Mr. Dent supported labor legislation 35 percent of the time. In 2007 his labor voting record dropped to 27 percent and now is below 20 percent. Mr. Toomey’s labor voting record was around 7 percent when he decided not to seek a fourth term.

Congressman Dent voted against HR 7321, the Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act that provided loans to the American automakers including General Motors and Chrysler. Because of the loans, both companies have survived and still employ thousands of workers including members of the United Auto Workers of America (UAW) Union.

Mr. Dent stated in November 2009 he opposed the legislation because it “failed to implement the reforms that domestic automakers must embrace to ensure limits on executive compensation, and additional substantial concessions by the UAW members.” However, since the legislation was passed General Motors has repaid the loans from the federal government and Chrysler financial situation has improved.

Mr. Dent voted against the Employee Free Choice Act/Card Check (EFCAct). Also, Congressman Dent voted against raising the federal minimum wage and funding extentions of unemployment benefits for American workers that have been without jobs for an extended period.

Jerry Green, President of the United Steelworkers of America (UAW) Union Local 2599 in Bethlehem, is disappointed Mr. Dent won and has seen a change in his attitude toward the labor community during the past several terms and not for the better.