That Washington

Pridemore Baits Heck with Pro-Union Stance

By Camden Swita May 4, 2010


We've gotten into the middle of a ping pong match—we're the ball, and I think we're done— but here's where we are now.

Heck's campaign tells us Heck supports the Employee Free Choice Act. And, in fact, they say, Heck as said so, "while sitting next to Pridemore" at public events.

Pridemore says Heck has said that he will not take a position on it.

Kathy Cummings at the Washington State Labor Council says Heck has said in interviews that he supports the bill, but unlike Pridemore, he wouldn't go as far as saying he'd co-sponsor it in Congress.

ORIGINAL POST (originally posted at 2:15 pm) :

Liberal State Sen. Craig Pridemore (D-49, Vancouver), who is running for the open Congressional seat in Washington's 3rd district, southwest Washington, called out frontrunner opponent Denny Heck for remaining quiet on the Employee Free Choice Act, a piece of pro-union legislation that  Congress is considering.

Currently, a workplace can be unionized if the nascent union collects signatures from a simple majority of employees. Footnote: Management can then request that a ballot go before its workforce to confirm. The Employee Free Choice Act would do away with the employer's right to a ballot.

Pridemore, known for his liberal positions—he launched his Congressional campaign with a speech about workers' rights, "an unapologetic appeal to liberal values," at the Clark County Democratic Convention—supports the union-friendly legislation. (One piece of legislation he passed this session was a bill to recycle light bulbs.)

“Over the past three decades we’ve seen a steady assault on the workers who are the engines of our economy,” Pridemore said in a press statement. “I support the Employee Free Choice Act because we need to honor the tradition of labor in our country and provide security for working families during these uncertain and difficult times.”

Pridemore, who is the undedog—Pridemore's raised $83,436 while Heck has raised $569,609—blasted Heck for not speaking up about the proposal.

“Time and again I have asked, ‘where is Denny?’” said Pridemore.  “And all we hear back is silence. From financial reform to health insurance reform to the rights of labor, Denny Heck has failed to tell us unequivocally where he stands,” hitting liberal issues that may or not play in the swing district, and could certainly pigeon hole him if he makes it to the general.

Heck, a former majority leader in the state house.  is the founder of TVW, Washington state's C-SPAN, tech entrepreneur and former Chief of Staff for Governor Booth Gardner in the late '80s, early '90s.

PubliCola spoke with Heck spokesman Grant Lahmann, but he said Heck has no response yet and would get back to us in the afternoon.

Pridemore's hail mary to the Democratic base, could end up hurting the Democrats if Heck is forced to play lib, come general election time when he's likely to be the Democratic candidate.
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