Ward 1: AFSCME awards first major labor endorsement

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A union representing government workers has awarded the first major labor endorsement of the Ward 1 City Council race.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 5 will be supporting neighborhood leader Doron Clark, according to an announcement this week from the campaign.

Clark is running to succeed Council Member Paul Ostrow, who is not seeking re-election. His opponents include neighborhood activist Kevin Reich and City Council aide Jose Velez. All three candidates live in the Windom Park neighborhood, which is situated southeast of Lowry and Central avenues.

“AFSCME’s endorsement affirms the strength and organization of our campaign,” Clark said in a statement. “My message of working to bring more quality jobs to the East Side resonates with every group I meet. I am pleased that AFSCME will help make this vision a reality.”

AFSCME, which represents about 43,000 workers in Minnesota, is one of the state’s largest and most politically active labor unions.

Aaron Landry, a blogger who covers politics for MNPublius, said in an e-mail interview that major labor endorsements can be influential not only with members but also other unions.

“There’s a lot of endorsements out there, but it’s the labor ones that tend to equate to volunteers and organizers,” Landry said.

Velez happy with fundraising pace
In other campaign news, Velez said in an interview with the Northeast Beat that his campaign has raised more than $3,000.

“We’ve only been doing this for six weeks now,” Velez said. “We’re pretty excited. There’s a sense we’ve come a long way in a very short period of time.”

Updating campaign status
Craig Pederson, who was considering whether to enter the Ward 1 City Council race, made up his mind and let the world know Monday via his Facebook status:

“Craig Pederson has decided not to run for the Mpls City Council. Now is not the time.”

Pederson is pastor at Northeast Community Lutheran Church.