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Plenty on the line for the labor community in November election

09.01.12

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

Plenty on the line for the labor community in November election

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, August 19th- The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington, DC and the rest of the labor community are getting ready for the fall political campaign. In November all of the House of Representative seats are up, Pennsylvania United States Incumbent Democratic Senator Robert Casey Jr. is attempting to gain a second six-year term in Washington, and Democratic United States President Barack Obama is seeking a second four-term term.

Beginning in January 2013, because of newly redrawn congressional boundaries in Pennsylvania due to the loss of one seat because of the 2010 census, the Lehigh Valley will be represented in Washington by two legislative districts. Currently the Lehigh Valley is represented in Washington by the 15th Legislative District. The seat is held by Republican Charlie Dent, who is seeking his fifth two-year term. Mr. Dent is being challenged by Democratic nominee Rick Daugherty.

Mr. Daugherty told the newspaper he could defeat Mr. Dent in November because he would better represent the working people of the Lehigh Valley in the nations capitol. He stated if elected he would be a Democrat such as defeated 17th Legislative District Congressman Tim Holden. Mr. Holden has the distinction of being called a “Blue Dog” Democrat, meaning his voting record indicates he hasn’t always supported Democratic party legislation. Mr. Holden voted against progressive initiatives such as housing finance reforms, greater consumer protections, energy reforms, health care reform legislation, and the American auto loans.

Mr. Holden lost to first-time elected office seeker Matt Cartwright in the April primary election. Mr. Holden has served in the House of Representatives for 20 years.

The newly 17th District will run from Schuylkill County to Lackawanna County including part of Northampton County. The City of Easton, the surrounding areas, and a part of Bethlehem are included in the 17th Legislative District.

Mr. Cartwright has made it clear if elected in November he would support progressive issues such as the raising of the federal minimum wage, and other issues important to the labor community. Mr. Cartwright is facing Republican home health nurse company owner Laureen Cummings.

Mr. Casey is being challenged by Republican Tom Smith, who has made an issue of the support Mr. Casey has shown for legislation supported by the labor community.

During the first term in Washington, Senator Casey supported legislation important to the labor community including increasing the federal minimum wage, passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCAct), and extending unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed workers.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney choice of right-wing Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan indicates that the privatization of Social Security will again be a topic heading into the November election.

Mr. Ryan proposed a plan in 2010 that would allow younger workers to divert more than one-third of their Social Security taxes into personal accounts, which would damage the rest of the retirement system.

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