AFL-CIO Invites Democrats to Picnic

By: Jon Kalahar Email
By: Jon Kalahar Email

The AFL-CIO invited the labor-friendly candidates for office to speak. But according to them, that meant only Democratic candidates in this year's election.

"I'm proud to come from a labor family," said Jamie Franks, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor. "It's made a difference in my life, and we need to make a difference with labor in the state of Mississippi."

Franks' parents both worked in a factory in northeast Mississippi as he grew up, so he was an instant favorite with the union members and workers in attendance. But it was his harsh words against Gov. Haley Barbour and Republicans that really won them over.

"They have refused to allow working families to be represented for the past four years, and we need to put them out to pasture come November the sixth," Franks said.

All the Democratic candidates for statewide office were on hand. Gary Anderson is running for insurance commissioner. He said skyrocketing insurance rates have workers worried.

"My whole campaign is based on making sure that Mississippians get a fair deal in the office of insurance," Anderson said.

Anderson says Mississippi has the third highest rates in property and casualty insurance as well as health insurance in the nation.

"For so many Mississippians, their insurance is a trip to the emergency room because they can't afford health care," said Anderson.

Several candidates thanked workers for doing what they do every day. Democratic secretary of state candidate, Rob Smith says without them there would be no Mississippi.

"You got firefighters standing right over there. I've got police officers right over there. I've got industrial workers. I've got chicken growers," said Smith. "People like that, that's still your backbone of the workforce of Mississippi.

Education was also an important issue to many of the workers who attended the picnic. Many say they believe by creating a better educational system, more companies will want to build or relocate to Mississippi, and in turn, bring more jobs to the state and what they hope is a brighter future.

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