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Labor community getting ready for the fall political campaign

08.01.12

AUGUST 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Labor community getting ready for the fall political campaign

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, July 20th- The labor community will be active during the 2012 fall political campaign with all of the United States House of Representative seats up, one of the Pennnsylvania Senate seat, and a campaign for the United States Presidency.

One of the races that the nation will be watching will be Incumbent Democratic Senator from Pennsylvania Robert Casey Jr.’s attempt to gain a second six-year term in Washington. Mr. Casey defeated Republican right-wing Senator and failed 2012 Presidential candidate Rick Santorum in 2006.

Robert Casey, a Scranton resident, is the son of the late former Governor of Pennsylvania Robert P. Casey and a former state treasurer and state auditor general. Should he win on November 6th it would send him into a third decade in elected political office.

The Pennsylvania American Federatrion of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Harrisburg already endorsed Mr. Casey and Democratic President Barack Obama for the November election.

During the first term in Washington, Senator Casey supported legislation important to the labor community including voting for the increase of the federal minimum wage, supported the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act/Card Check legislation, which was never implemented, and voted in favor of extending unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed workers.

Mr. Casey is being challenged by conservative Republican candidate Tom Smith, which has made an issue of the support Mr. Casey has shown for legislation President Obama supported. However, Senator Casey did oppose the trade deals with Panama, South Korea and Colombia that Mr. Obama and Republicans supported in 2011. The trade deals were passed in 2011 in rapid succession, which lowered or eliminated trade tarriffs with those three countries. The trade agreements were supported by many Democratic legislators in both chambers that have in the past received labor support and promised to support pro-labor legislation. The labor community were against the trade deals, citing the negative effects on the American workers cause by past trade deals.

Mr. Smith has made it clear if elected he would oppose any attempt to allow tax rates on the rich and high earners to rise. Also, he will reject any Republican congressional leaders compromise to allow an increase in the nation’s borrowing cap unless it is offset by more cuts to social programs.Mr. Smith is 64 years old and lives on a family owned farm in Armstrong County, approximately 40 miles of Pittsburgh. He wade his fortune owning a coal mine.

In late 2011 Newsweek magazine placed Mr. Casey on their “endangered list” for the 2012 election season. However, Mr. Casey is leading in every major poll heading into August.

Mr. Obama will attempt to gain a second four-year term as President in the fall election. Despite the failing of his administration to pass much of the “pro-labor” legislation that was discussed during the 2008 political campaign, the labor community is supporting him for re-election mainly because the current Republican party and their Presidential candidate Mitt Romney are anti-union. Mr. Romney has made it clear he believes the American economy can be fix by cutting taxes to the mega-millionaires.

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