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Labor community giving funds to help Callahan defeat Charlie Dent

01.29.10

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

Labor community giving funds to help Callahan defeat Charlie Dent

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, January 18th- Democratic Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan is challenging incumbent United States House of Representative (Republican-15th Legislative District) Charlie Dent in 2010 and his recent fundraising success is partly because of labor unions donating to his campaign.

Mr. Dent is currently serving the second half of a third term in Washington, DC and his recent voting record has taken a sharp turn against legislation supported by the labor community. The 15th Congressional District seat has been held by a Republican for six consecutive terms. Pat Toomey represented the Lehigh Valley in Washington for six years and did not seek a fourth two-year term in 2004. Mr. Toomey is seeking the Republican nomination in 2010 for the United States Senator from Pennsylvania. The seat is currently occupied by Democrat Arlen Specter.

Mr. Callahan stated if he is to be successful in defeating Mr. Dent the labor community must support him financially and with their votes.

Mr. Callahan reported that he raised $380,000 for his challenge of Mr. Dent in the last three months of 2009 which was more than Mr. Dent raised. Mr. Callahan’s campaign stated it has more than $600,000 on hand to spend on the campaign.

The affiliated union members of the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Lehigh Valley labor federation has pledged to support Mr. Callahan’s campaign and many have given funds.

Mayor Callahan is just beginning a new four-year term as Bethlehem Mayor and for months has been reaching-out to members of the labor community throughout the Lehigh Valley requesting their financial support and conducting strategy sessions.

According to one labor leader that represents workers employed by Bethlehem, Mr. Callahan is fair to his members.

David Saltzer, President of the the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Union Local 735, which represents 111 members of the Bethlehem fire department told the newspaper Mr. Callahan has been a good employer since becoming Mayor of Bethlehem. Currently, Local 735 has a four-year contract agreement with the city which will expire on December 31st, 2010. “We have negotiated one contract with him but things went well. He was fair to the members,” said Mr. Saltzer.

Mr. Dent had a labor voting record of nearly 35 percent in 2006, but dropped to 27 percent in 2007 and is now below 20 percent. He voted against raising the minimum wage, and the Card Check legislation.

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