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Trumka: Mass. Senate Race Should Be Decided on Issues, Not Gender

Massachusetts AFL-CIO photo

Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (R) portrays himself as pickup truck-driving, Boston Bruins jersey-wearing friend of union workers and working families. He paints his opponent in the Senate race, Elizabeth Warren, as a woman who is an elitist college professor. Both points are untrue.

Today, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka set the record straight on Brown and Warren in an address in Boston to New England union members and leaders that media and political observers are comparing to his 2008 speech on the role race played in some workers’ opposition to President Obama’s candidacy.

I’ve said before that there are dozens of good reasons to vote for Barack Obama and one bad reason not to—and that’s because he’s black. Now hear me about Elizabeth Warren. There may be dozens of good reasons for us to vote for her, but it’s crazy not to vote for her because she’s a woman, or because she’s a college professor or for any other superficial reason. 

Trumka said some people are saying they will vote against Warren because they believe Brown is the worker-friendly, everyday guy he says he is.

Trumka says:

The other bad reason to vote against her is because Scott Brown comes across like the guy some of you supported years ago, who served in the state House and the Senate. Let me be perfectly frank with you—that’s not the Scott Brown who’s serving in Washington today. The new Scott Brown votes every time with the 1% and the tea party.

Calling Brown “a fake and fraud” who has “changed colors to blend in with the right-wing foliage in Washington,” Trumka listed just some of the votes where Brown came down on the side of Wall Street instead of the workers. In his short tenure in the Senate, Brown voted for tax cuts for outsourcers. He blocked investments in America’s future. He voted against unemployment benefits for jobless workers.

And listen to this, he claims he was a proud union member, but then he went to Washington and voted against Davis-Bacon protections on certain federal projects and he voted to deny workers the ability to organize and bargain for better wages.

Warren, on the other hand, is a “champion of Wall Street reform [and] working people…who visualized and campaigned for,” said Trumka, “a new federal agency to protect you and me, to protect Main Street from Wall Street and prevent a repeat of the financial meltdown that threw millions and millions of workers out of the job market in 2008.” He added:

Scott Brown thinks his pickup truck will make you forget that he votes against you and your family not once, not twice but every single time. Scott Brown thinks he can win big by calling Elizabeth Warren an elitist. Why? Because she teaches college? Hell, she teaches college because she’s smart, and she works hard.

He said working family voters have to decide, “What do we want?”

Do we want jobs? Do we want to be back at the worksite, back at the plant, back on the construction site earning a good living? Because Elizabeth Warren will fight for PLAs [project labor agreements]. She’ll fight to revive American manufacturing. She’ll fight for education and smart investments. She’ll fight for Davis-Bacon [prevailing wage]. She’ll fight for funding for infrastructure, and she’ll do it every single day.

Trumka said union voters need to decide, “What would we rather have?”

Do we want a buddy who’ll pat us on the back? Who wears a Bruins jersey with the boys? Or a leader who will fight for our right to form unions and bargain for a better life?

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