Lieutenant governor candidates vie for endorsements

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(Host) In Vermont’s very close race for lieutenant governor, two candidates are battling for the support of various labor organizations.

VPR’s Bob Kinzel reports.

(Kinzel) With a new VPR poll showing the three candidates seeking the office of lieutenant governor in a virtual dead heat, it’s not surprising to see the candidates scramble for endorsements from a variety of organizations.

Democratic candidate Peter Shumlin has been endorsed by the state’s largest teachers union, the Vermont NEA, and on Wednesday Shumlin won the support of the Vermont State Employees Association. With nearly 7,000 members, the VSEA is the state’s second largest labor union. Shumlin says the endorsements carry a very practical benefit:

(Shumlin) “They bring you grass roots support. They bring you mailings and they send the really clear message to their members that Pete Shumlin has worked hard for us over the years. Let’s get behind him.”

(Kinzel) Progressive Anthony Pollina has been endorsed by the AFL-CIO. This labor group did not endorse Pollina in his race for governor two years ago. Pollina has been campaigning with Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders this year and he thinks this alignment has been helpful with labor groups like the AFL-CIO:

(Pollina) “They feel that they did the right thing by supporting Bernie Sanders over the years and that they’re in fact doing the right thing by supporting me this year. Because they see me as someone who will echo Bernie’s voice in the Statehouse to some degree, and will be willing to really work for them to make sure that their issues become a real priority in the Legislature.”

(Kinzel) Pollina says he hopes to make more joint appearances with Congressman Sanders at special town meetings organized by the Sanders campaign.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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