Happy Labor Day, everyone. I hope you had a great weekend. I stopped by the Boise Central Trades and Labor Council's annual shindig at Municipal Park, where hundreds of people were enjoying burgers and dogs hot off the grill and plenty of fine speechifying by our Democratic candidates. Before the speeches, I introduced myself to some folks at my table and mentioned that I write for a Democratic blog. One woman asked, somewhat in a panic, if it was a "Democrat" picnic. I said no, but that most union people lean Democratic, and that Democrats work hard for working families. Come to think of it, when was the last time you saw Mike Simpson, Bill Sali, Mike Crapo, or Jim Risch at this event? So yeah, it is a Democratic picnic in spirit, if not in fact.
Larry LaRocco, who has been Working for Senate since last summer, led off the speeches. ("I can't thank you enough for what you've done for working families across Idaho," labor leader John Kierce said as he introduced Larry.) "This is not a time to conceptualize or theorize or visualize about winning," Larry said. "This is a time to put our shoulder to the wheel and win." He blasted the John McCain-Jim Risch health care plan, saying he could describe it in three words: "Don't get sick." He also reminded the crowd that, as a Congressman in the 1990s, he voted against Bill Clinton's wishes and voted against NAFTA. He pledged to continue working jobs alongside Idahoans - he's done 34 so far - even after he's elected as a means of staying grounded in what working families experience every day.
Walt Minnick was next, and the 1st District House candidate said that America is not great because of its Wall Street millionaires or celebrities or star athletes, but because of its working people, adding that "if this country has a future - and it does have a future," it's because working men and women will work to turn around the crises of foreclosed homes, outsourced jobs, and health care and education that's beyond the reach of most middle-class Americans. "Fortunately, we're not the only ones to recognize this mess, he added. "The consensus is that Washington, D.C., is broken and that it's time to fix it.
Debbie Holmes, the 2nd District House candidate, pledged to focus on clean energy jobs, conservation, and honoring our veterans "with real help, not just lip service." She mentioned that as a former Hillary Clinton supporter who became a Barack Obama last March, she was insulted by John McCain's pick of Sarah Palin as his running-mate, adding "Sarah Palin isn't ready to lead this country, and John McCain isn't either. He's proven it with his choice." She concluded her remarks by asking people to "show America that Idaho wants to be part of the change."
Kierce, the president of the Boise Central Trades & Labor Council, asked everyone present to consider giving "Eight in '08," or eight hours of volunteer work for a campaign of our choice. "You don't have to do it all at once," he said, and in fact, an hour a week from now through Election Day sounds about right. Click on the websites linked above, or consider volunteering for any of our great Idaho State Legislature candidates, many of whom were on hand for today's festivities, including Les Bock, Grant Burgoyne, Sue Chew, Brian Cronin, Greg Funk, Kate Kelly, Bill Killen, Phyllis King, Nicole LeFavour, Michelle Waddell, and Elliot Werk. (I hope I didn't miss anyone. You can view a longer list of state candidates here. And remember Ada County commisioner candidates David Langhorst and Paul Woods, too. Let's turn the courthouse blue.)
Update: McJoan had a write-up and photos at Daily Kos, too. "Yes, Idaho still has Labor, though two decades of 'right to work' has lessened their ranks. Nonetheless, they're still active, vocal, and fighting for Idaho Dems." Read and see more here.