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Trumka: Obama Strong on Guns, Conservation Issues


Trumka: Obama Strong on Guns, Conservation Issues

by Seth Michaels, Sep 19, 2008

At a union roundtable discussion in Johnstown, Pa., yesterday, AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Richard Trumka met with a panel of 15 union sportsmen from 12 different western Pennsylvania unions to discuss Sen. Barack Obama’s positions on issues ranging from trade to guns.

Trumka says Obama is offering the right solutions for what’s wrong with our economy. He told the assembled union members that talking with their friends and neighbors about Obama and the important issues is the best way to make sure we have a pro-worker president next year.

This election is going to decide the direction of the economy, where we go. Whether the economy is going to help you, or hurt you. Whether it’s going to be changed or it isn’t going to be changed. It’s up to you, it’s very, very important for you and for your future, the future of our communities and our children, to know the facts, where the candidates stand on the issues and then vote what’s best for the country.

Trumka, an avid hunter and fisher, says corporate interests will again seek to exploit the issue of gun ownership this year, hoping to distract gun-owning voters from real issues like jobs, health care and retirement security. This election is too important to let distortions and falsehood affect it, Trumka says.

Obama gets it. Not only is he crystal clear in his support of the Second Amendment, he is light years ahead of John McCain on habitat conservation and hunting and fishing access issues important to sportsmen. Attacks on Sen. Obama’s position on guns are nothing more than right-wing rhetoric meant to distract working people from the critical pocketbook issues that affect our daily lives.

Participants at the roundtable said that while protecting the traditions of sportsmen is important, the focus of this election is squarely on the economy.

Kenneth Peterson, president of IBEW Local 459 in Johnstown, said trade tops the issues leading him to vote for Obama this fall.

There is a lot of nonsense out there about Barack Obama taking our guns. Workers from our area are more worried about John McCain exporting our jobs.

Lisa Stark, a National Rifle Association member and organizer for the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees (NUHHCE), says the real threat to responsible gun ownership comes from the stagnation of workers’ paychecks.

The truth of the matter is that George W. Bush and his failed economic policies have taken away more guns from average Americans than any gun control law ever passed in the history of the United States. The economic policies of George Bush—which McCain supported 90 percent of the time—have turned pawn shops into gun shops because struggling workers have to hock their guns to pay their mortgages.

Michael Fedore, a member of the Pennsylvania Federation of Teachers who grew up in New Castle, Pa., says he’s voting for Obama because all workers’ rights deserve respect.

We come from an area where schools close on the opening day of deer season. Hunting is a way of life for us and Barack Obama respects that. Sen. Obama also respects our rights to decent jobs that pay fair wages, health care and pension protection.

Pennsylvania will be a decisive state in this fall’s election, and union volunteers will be working hard to make sure every union member knows what issues are really at stake this year.

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