Wednesday, March 05, 2008

"Mystery" surrounding Labor Council's endorsements solved

On Monday we published a press release from the Winnebago County Labor Council announcing the group’s endorsements for various local and state offices in the April 1 general election. Shortly thereafter, rumors started circulating on local blogs and in the community claiming that the local school board candidates had not actually been contacted by the labor council during this election cycle.

After confirming with one candidate that he personally didn’t recall getting a questionnaire from them, we contacted council president Steven Dedow and asked for an explanation of what their process was. Late Tuesday evening we received a response from him and subsequent to that permission from him to publish his response (i.e., explanation) verbatim. It is as follows:


In regards to the questions surrounding the Winnebago County Labor Council’s endorsement process:

Questionnaires were sent out to the County Board candidates in Districts 14, 15 and 18. The questionnaires that were returned were discussed and our endorsements were based on that information. In the District 14 contest, the membership was evenly divided on endorsement so, as per past practice, no endorsement was made.

In the Court of Appeals District II Judge contest we based our decision on information received from the candidates and the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO political department. Only one candidate submitted information to further this process.

As to the Wisconsin State Supreme Court race; we as a local chapter of the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO, reviewed information on the candidates via the media, campaign websites and past voting records to make a determination on which candidate best reflected the concerns of our affiliates.

The School Board endorsements were made upon the recommendations of our affiliates who are most closely connected to the educational environment. This type of recommendation has been used in the past. It is akin to municipal government’s use of an advisory committee. In the past we have used methods such as interviews, questionnaires and the recommendations of affiliates to enrich the endorsement process. Mr. (Ben) Schneider has been sent questionnaires in past election cycles and did not respond. Ms. (Michelle) Monte was interviewed in the past election cycle and her candidacy was not supported by the WCLC AFL-CIO due to fundamental differences.

The problem during this particular political cycle lies within the press release itself. For this I take complete responsibility. I ‘cut and pasted’ parts of an earlier version and did not edit properly. I personally apologize for this over sight. It certainly was not my intent, or that of the WCLC’s, to complicate the issue of democracy.

Currently there are 26 unions who are part of the Winnebago County Labor Council. At any given meeting the amalgam may be varied. In the past we have endorsed Republicans, Democrats and Greens. The candidates selected during the endorsement process are chosen by the delegates in attendance at that particular meeting. And so it was this time, my press release editing screw up not withstanding.

Stephen Dedow, President WCLC AFL-CIO

We would like to thank Steve for his timely and thorough response in explaining the council's endorsement process during this election cycle.


Blogger Mike Norton said...

I am curious why only three county board races where considered for there four within he city of Oshkosh.

Did Steve Dedow ex pain why one district race was left out ?

March 05, 2008 2:26 PM  
Blogger Cheryl Hentz said...

Mike, I don't know why only three Oshkosh districts were considered. But, I published Steve's response verbatim and you can see there was no mention of the fourth district.

March 05, 2008 2:49 PM  

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