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Latest News - July 2015

June 25, 2015
Labor council backs Toledo mayor in race
AFL-CIO's campaign helped oust Bell, elect Collins in 2013


The local AFL-CIO labor council, whose statewide affiliate funded a negative campaign in Toledo’s 2013 mayoral contest that helped defeat former Mayor Mike Bell, announced Thursday it is backing Democratic incumbent Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson for mayor.

The Greater Northwest Ohio AFL-CIO’s state affiliate in 2013 spent more than $150,000 on a TV and direct-mail campaign to defeat Mr. Bell and elect independent D. Michael Collins, who died in February.

George Tucker, the executive secretary of the labor group, said the local affiliate does not have a political action fund, but that he hopes the state affiliate will chip money in to help Ms. Hicks-Hudson. He promised that AFL-CIO volunteers would go door to door and staff phone banks to support her. He stood with about 22 local union representatives at a downtown restaurant to make the endorsement.

The labor coalition represents area unions that claim about 35,000 members in its five-county region in northwest Ohio. Mr. Tucker said he didn’t know how many are voters in Toledo. He said AFL-CIO member unions are free to make their own endorsements.

In 2013, the Ohio AFL-CIO and a national American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees political action committee combined to spend $157,549 on television and postcard advertising linking Mr. Bell with Republican Gov. John Kasich and criticizing his trips to China to attract Chinese investment in Toledo.

The advertising campaign was attributed to a political committee called Toledoans for Working Families, of which nothing was publicly known except that its treasurer was a Columbus lawyer affiliated with the Ohio Democratic Party. The Ohio AFL-CIO and AFSCME were disclosed as the source of the group’s campaign cash after the election.

Ms. Hicks-Hudson thanked the AFL-CIO for its support, saying unions stand for “a living wage, great working conditions,” and “good work product and good work ethic.”

“That is what Toledoans are all about, to make sure that we provide opportunities for families to grow,” Ms. Hicks-Hudson said.

Mr. Tucker said Ms. Hicks-Hudson has “the respect and support of the working men and women of Toledo. She will continue to stand by working people and lead this great city forward.”

Ms. Hicks-Hudson, the former council president, became mayor automatically Feb. 6 when Mr. Collins died. She is one of three declared candidates, along with Mr. Collins’ widow, Sandy Drabik Collins, an independent, and South Toledo evangelist Opal Covey, a Republican.

Also campaigning for mayor, though not officially declared, is former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, a Democrat.



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