By TIM ROWDEN
Republican legislators who stood with working families in this year’s session by sustaining Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto of right-to-work legislation were feted at a series of receptions last week hosted by the Missouri AFL-CIO and the Tri-County, Mineral Area and Jefferson County labor clubs.
“We want to thank and honor or representatives who have taken a lot of heat for doing the right thing and standing up for working families,” Missouri AFL-CIO President Mike Louis said at the Jefferson County event. About 150 people turned out for the reception.
Referencing two right-to-work bills, which were pre-filed last week, Representative Elaine Gannon (R-De Soto) told union members, “We’re going to be facing the same thing starting in January. I want you to know that I personally will be there with you. I also want you to know that the 20 of us who voted against the veto override will band together again.”
Rep. Becky Ruth (R-Festus) said, “It makes it a lot easier when we have to stand up and say ‘No.You’re not going to do this to working families.’ to know we have you behind us.”
In addition to Gannon and Ruth, honorees at the Jefferson County event also included, Dave Hinson (R-St. Clair), John McCaherty (R-High Ridge) and Shane Roden (R-Cedar Hill).
Worker-friendly Sen. Gary Romine (R-Farmington) was also in attendance.
At the Tri-County Labor Club in St. Charles, representatives Ron Hicks (R-St. Peters), Bart Korman (R-High Hill), Chrissy Sommer (R-St. Charles) and Anne Zerr (R-St. Charles) were greeted by a packed house, and all confirmed their opposition to anti-worker right-to-work and pledged their continued support in 2016.
“Turnout was incredible,” said Tri-County President Steve Bailey. “We had between 180 and 200 people in attendance, and we usually average about 110 at our monthly labor club meetings.”
Rep. Kathie Conway (R-St. Charles) was unable to attend the Tri-County reception, but she stopped by the club’s executive board meeting Dec. 1 and vowed continued support of working families.
“All five legislators sounded sincere, and we feel good moving forward,” Bailey said.
At the Mineral Area Labor Club in Leadington, worker friendly representatives Linda Black (R-Park HIlls), Kevin Engler (R-Farmington) and Paul Fitzwater (R-Potosi) were all recognized for their support.
It’s important that these representatives know their efforts – against intense pressure from their party – are appreciated and that workers will stand with them on Election Day.
If you were unable to attend the reception, please consider mailing a donation to Missouri AFL-CIO, 227 Jefferson St., Jefferson City, MO 65101. Please make checks payable to representatives’ campaign committees, which are listed below.
• Tri-County – Kathie Conway (Citizens for Conway), Ron Hicks (Ron Hicks for State Representative), Bart Korman (Patrons to Elect Bart Korman), Chrissy Sommer (Citizens for Sommer) and Anne Zerr (Anne Zerr for Missouri).
• Mineral Area – Linda Black (Citizens for Black 2016), Kevin Engler (Engler for Missouri) and Paul Fitzwater (Friends of Paul Fitzwater).
• Jefferson County – Elaine Gannon (Citizens for Elaine Gannon), Dave Hinson (Citizens for Hinson), John McCaherty (Citizens for McCaherty), Shane Roden (Citizens for Shane Roden) and Becky Ruth (Committee to Elect Becky Ruth).
(Sheri Gassaway of the Labor Tribune contributed to this report.)