Support pro-labor candidates on Election Day! Some may be your colleagues

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MAPE has long encouraged members to vote for candidates who support labor, and nearly a half-dozen members have truly taken the request to heart and are running for political office themselves.   

Local 301 President Anne Claflin is hoping to represent House District 54A in the state Legislature. “I see the hard work we put in with MAPE to improve the lives of MAPE workers and I wanted to improve the lives of more people,” Claflin said.

Anne Claflin with son William -- 54A House

Local 301 President Anne Claflin (pictured in the photo on the right with her son William) is running for the Minnesota House seat in District 54A.

Claflin’s district is part of the state’s $850 million settlement with 3M over contaminated groundwater. Claflin is a scientist with Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and said, “When I’m out talking with people, they’re really concerned about the water quality, and we really need a scientist working on this.” 

Claflin, who chairs the Local Presidents Committee, has participated in MAPE contract actions and relational organizing. “I have really learned from how MAPE has been organizing and talking with people -- that one-on-one connection is how I’ve been running. The same kind of stories I hear at the doors when campaigning humanize tax policy -- just like we try to do when we talk with legislators,” she said.

“State service is a different way of thinking, solving problems and thoughtful way of making decisions,” she added. “I am proud of what my union has achieved, but every Minnesotan deserves the freedom to collectively bargain, fair and equitable wages, good health care and the opportunity to succeed. I’m running because as Paul Wellstone said best: ‘We all do better when we all do better.’ ”

Amanda Hemmingsen-Yaeger

Local 1203’s Amanda Hemmingsen-Jaeger (pictured in the photo on the right) is running for a seat on the Woodbury City Council. She is a forensic scientist with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and said water quality is also important to Woodbury residents. Hemmingsen-Jaeger believes her scientific policy background is important “to making sure the water is being cleaned up. I think we need to do more research on what water treatment we need to do to clean up the contamination.”

Hemmingsen-Jaeger said Woodbury is moving into phase three of its city development and believes the next challenge is moving from development to a maintenance concept. “The relationship building and intentional engagement skills I learned at MAPE will help build the community -- the whole mentality of ‘we’re all in this together, we negotiate together.’ Having the appreciation for building power, community from the grassroots up will make me a better advocate for Woodbury,” she added.

Hemmingsen-Jaeger said there are many ways members can get involved in this year’s election, “Getting out and voting is so important -- you will really determine how the next few years shape up. Being with MAPE, members can get involved even more: Door knocking and phone banking for candidates. I’ve found it’s always easier to go with a friend because it’s not as intimidating. MAPE has a list of endorsed candidates and it is never too late or too early to get on board with candidates for city council, school board, Legislature and statewide races.”

You may check out MAPE’s website, www.mape.org, for ways to get involved in electing pro-labor candidates.

Local 501’s Janet Kitua, a buyer with the Department of Employment and Economic Development, serves as secretary for MAPE’s Political Action Committee (PAC). She jokingly said PAC Vice Chair Monica Weber “talked me into running” for a seat on the Edina City Council. 

Janet Kitui -- with three daughters

Education is a top issue in Janet Kitui’s, Local 501, bid for Edina City Council. Janet, second from right in the photo on the right, is pictured with with her three daughters.

Kitui said the need for affordable housing and reasonable college debt were two of the reasons that drew her into the council race, “A few years ago, one of the city council candidates mentioned affordable housing as one of her platforms. I learned it is one thing to talk about it and actualize it -- you need other voters to join you. I want the city council to have diverse voters represented.”   

Kitui, a past president of the parent teacher organization at Edina’s Southview Middle School, currently has a daughter in her last year at Edina High School. She will have three daughters in college next year and is concerned about the student debt the young women will have. “I am trying to help with college, but they are still taking out student loans and will have at least $30,000 in student loans to repay when they’re finished with school. This debt will hold them back from starting a family and buying a home and, if wages remain stagnant, it will really hold them down for a while.”

Kitui said MAPE membership and her experience on the union’s PAC has been helpful to her campaign. “My union makes me a better person because we talk about wages and health care, all of those issues are so close to Minnesota workers. When PAC members evaluate candidates, we ask whether they will support our contract. I will be talking with the employees of city government in Edina about the benefits of union membership.”