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Sarbanes says Bush is anti-labor

October 05, 2006|by ERIN CUNNINGHAM

HAGERSTOWN - Talk at the area labor council's biennial dinner Wednesday centered largely around November's election.

Union representatives were clear about their choices for national, state and local elections. And candidates said they wanted to support unions, working people and the middle class.

U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, D-Md., was the guest speaker at the Central Maryland AFL-CIO Council dinner at the Elks Club on Robinwood Drive in Hagerstown.

Sarbanes' said several times that the Bush administration is anti-labor and anti-working people. He stressed the importance of electing people in November who will act in the best interest of those groups.

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Sarbanes decided not to run for office this year, after serving in the U.S. Senate for five terms.

He listed a number of administration policies that have hurt working people in Maryland and across the country, including tax cuts to the wealthy, low job production, decreased health benefits and cutting education programs.

"Is that the type of priorities we want in this country?" he asked.

He spoke about other issues like his stance against privatizing social security.

"Bush in my opinion is moving the country in the wrong direction," Sarbanes said.

Central Maryland Labor Council President Donald A. Forcino also called for those at the dinner to vote for representatives backed by the labor council. Forcino was recognized Wednesday as Labor Person of the Year.

"Don has fought for working people throughout his career, a true union activist in every sense ... and remains a constant for the labor movement in Annapolis ...," according to information printed about Forcino in a program for the event.

Before speaking, Forcino said the goals of the labor movement are for "decent" representatives at the state and national level.

"Unfair labor laws are being practiced every day by the present administration," he said.

Paul Swartz, a Democratic candidate for Washington County Commissioner, attended the dinner, and is endorsed by the labor council.

"My dad was a strong union man and a strong Democrat," Swartz said. "And I've never strayed from that teaching."

Democrat Andrew Duck, who is running for Maryland's 6th District, is backed by the labor council, and said what the unions and workers want is an improved quality of life.

"They are looking for a government that is going to keep jobs here by enforcing the law," Duck said, referring to laws about immigration and trade.

Hagerstown City Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire was at the dinner in place of Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II, who could not attend. Aleshire also is a candidate for the Washington County Commission.

The candidates being endorsed by the Central Maryland AFL-CIO Council are:

· Martin O'Malley and Anthony Brown for Governor and Lt. Governor

· Douglas F. Gansler for Attorney General

· Peter Franchot for State Comptroller

· Ben Cardin for U.S. Senate

· Andrew Duck for 6th Congressional District

· Candy Greenway for State Senate District 3

· John Donoghue for House of Delegates Subdistrict 2C

· Donna L. Brightman, James H. Hardin, Paul Swartz and William J. Wivell for Washington County Commissioner

· Dennis Weaver for Washington County Clerk of Circuit Court

· Todd L. Hershey for Washington County Treasurer

· John R. Bloyer II for Washington County Register of Wills

· Douglas W. Mullendore for Washington County Sheriff

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