This Washington

Unions Say State Rep. Candidate Heavey Gave Contradictory Answers

By Chris Kissel October 12, 2010

The United Food and Commercial Workers and the Machinists' Lodge 751 sent 34th District state Rep. candidate Mike Heavey an angry letter today, accusing him of "pandering to organizations to secure their endorsement" and calling him a "politician who will say anything to get elected."

The letter, written by Karen Deal of UFCW 21 and Larry Brown of Machinists Lodge 751, points to questionnaires Heavey filled out that give "conflicting opinions about critical issues for working families."

For example, the letter says Heavey contradicted himself, answering that he would "support expanding unemployment insurance" in a Washington Labor Council questionnaire, while later saying he would “definitely oppose' expansion of unemployment benefits" in an Enterprise Washington questionnaire.

The Enterprise Washington questionnaire asks, in full: "Some legislators have proposed expanding benefits to cover more of unemployed workers, including workers who voluntarily quit their jobs, which would lead to even higher employer rates. Do you favor or oppose benefit expansion?" Heavey replied that he would "definitely be opposed such an expansion."

UPDATE: Heavey sent Deal and Brown a response this afternoon, arguing that he has always been strongly supportive of the high-earners' income tax and that his statement on unemployment benefits was taken out of context (he says he is not in favor of unemployment benefits only when workers voluntarily leave their jobs).

"Although you have endorsed my opponent in this race and your letter might be cynically perceived as an attempt to boost his chances by embarrassing me so close to the ballot drop this week, I believe we both share the same goal of putting more people back to work and jumpstarting our economy again," Heavey writes.

Both letters below (especially check out the slick hit on 34th candidate Joe Fitzgibbon in the last paragraph of Heavey's letter):

Click here to read Heavey's letter.
Dear Mr. Heavey,

On behalf of our combined 80,000 union members in Washington, we are writing to seek clarity on several key positions you have taken during the campaign.

In recent statements and questionnaires, you have expressed different, conflicting opinions about critical issues for working families. Voters are tired of politicians who will say anything to get elected and we believe they deserve straight answers on these issues. Simply pandering to organizations to secure their endorsement is not leadership – it’s playing politics with our future. We demand clear answers about where you stand on these issues:

Unemployment

• Do you support “Expanding unemployment insurance” for working families, as you state on your website and told the Washington State Labor Council?

• Or do you “definitely oppose” expansion of unemployment benefits, as you told Enterprise Washington?

Creating Jobs

• Do you believe that “keep[ing] taxes low” is the best way to create jobs, because the private sector “is where the jobs come from”, as you told the Association of Washington Business?

• Or do you support investments in infrastructure, education, and energy retrofits because “It is the responsibility of the state to create jobs”, as you told the AIA?

It’s time you came clean with our members and with the voters of the 34th District about where you stand on these critical issues. We look forward to receiving a prompt response to all of these questions before ballots drop this week.

Sincerely,

Karen Deal
Political Director
UFCW 21

Larry Brown
Political Director
Machinists Lodge 751
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